Officials to give Manitoba COVID-19 update at 12:30 p.m.

Manitoba’s top health officials are set to give the latest details about COVID-19 in the province at a news conference on Friday.

CBC News will live stream the announcement from Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin and Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer for Shared Health, here at 12:30 p.m.

On Thursday, the province announced 298 people with COVID-19 were in hospital in Manitoba, the first time in more than two weeks that number has dipped below 300.

Officials also announced 13 more deaths linked to the illness, including six linked to the Charleswood Care Centre.

Meanwhile, the province’s critical-care program was operating at 196 per cent of its pre-pandemic capacity, with 129 of its 141 beds in use, a spokesperson for Shared Health said later Thursday. Forty-three of those people had active cases of COVID-19.

Later Thursday, the chief of Shamattawa First Nation, where roughly one in every four people has tested positive for the illness, said members of the Canadian military had completed a reconnaissance mission and more help might be on the way.

Shamattawa Chief Eric Redhead said a request has been made for an additional 60 to 70 members of the Canadian Armed Forces to travel to the remote northern Manitoba fly-in community to help in its fight against COVID-19.

Redhead said that number would include 15 to 20 medics who would do community wellness checks as they deliver groceries to people in isolation.

Earlier this week, officials announced the first 1,950 doses of the two-shot Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are set to arrive in Manitoba next week.

Those doses, which officials said would be enough for roughly 900 people, will be reserved for health-care workers in critical care units.

More details about the vaccine’s rollout in Manitoba are expected to be announced next week, Roussin said on Thursday.

The province also announced earlier this week that it will extend current public health orders until Jan. 8, with a few exceptions that include allowing drive-in services and letting thrift stores reopen.