Test positivity rates for COVID-19 dropped to levels not seen since the beginning of May in both Winnipeg and all of Manitoba on Thursday, as the province announced 183 new cases of the illness.
Manitoba’s five-day rate dropped to 8.8 per cent, the province said in a news release, which is down from 9.7 on Wednesday. The last time the provincial rate was that low was on May 5, when it also sat at 8.8 per cent.
Winnipeg’s rate sank to 8.5 per cent from 9.2. The city’s rate hasn’t been that low since May 2, when it was 8.4 per cent.
The death of a woman in her 60s from the Winnipeg health region was also reported on Thursday. She had contracted the B.1.1.7 alpha variant first seen in the U.K., the release said.
The woman’s death brought Manitoba’s total linked to the illness to 1,112.
The Winnipeg health region has the highest number of new cases on Thursday, with 90.
The rest are in the Northern Health Region, which posted 34, the Southern Health region, with 27, the Prairie Mountain Health region, with 20, and the Interlake-Eastern health region, with 12, the release said.
Students in Dauphin, Man., will stay in remote learning for the rest of the year, the release said. Those in Morden, Man., will go back to class on June 21.
There are now 266 Manitobans in hospital after getting COVID-19, the release said, which is down seven since Wednesday. That includes 80 in intensive care units, a drop of three. Eighteen of the patients in ICU are younger than 40, a Shared Health spokesperson said in an email.
The ICU patients include 20 receiving critical care outside Manitoba as the province continues to work to free up space in its strained hospitals.
There are 19 out-of-province patients in Ontario and one in Alberta, the release said. Thirty people previously sent out of province for COVID-19 care have since been brought back. Seven have died.
Counting both those who have COVID-19 and those who don’t, there were a total of 142 Manitobans in intensive care as of midnight, the Shared Health spokesperson said. That’s still nearly double the province’s pre-pandemic ICU capacity of 72 patients, the spokesperson said.
Over 20% fully vaccinated
As of Thursday, 70.3 per cent of Manitobans over age 12 have gotten at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Among adults, that figure is now 72.4 per cent, the province’s online vaccine dashboard says.
The number fully vaccinated is now 246,087 — or nearly 20.7 per cent — of eligible Manitobans, the dashboard says.
The COVID-19 outbreaks are now over at both Tabor Home in Morden, Man., and the Bethesda Regional Health Centre’s medical unit in Steinbach, Man., the release said.
The province’s website says five people at Tabor Home tested positive for the illness: three staff and two residents. Four recovered and one died.
At the Bethesda hospital’s medical unit, eight people tested positive: three staff and five others. Six of those people have recovered, while one died and one case is still active, the province’s website says.
Manitoba also reported 225 newly identified cases of more contagious variants on the province’s online variant dashboard on Thursday.
Fifty-two of those cases are now linked to the alpha variant, while 151 are still listed as unspecified variants. There are also 11 new cases of the B.1.617.2 delta variant discovered in India, and one more case of the B.1.617.1 kappa variant.
Cases of the B.1.351 beta variant, which was first detected in South Africa, increased by seven in Manitoba on Thursday.
Infections linked to the P.1 gamma variant associated with Brazil increased by three in Manitoba.
Since the start of the pandemic, 54,915 Manitobans have tested positive for COVID-19, the release said. Of those, 51,271 are considered recovered and 2,532 cases are still deemed active.