The latest on COVID-19 outbreaks in Manitoba schools, care homes, jails and more

Manitoba is in the midst of the worst COVID-19 numbers it’s seen since the pandemic began.

On Wednesday, the province reported 374 new cases and two new deaths — one linked to an outbreak at the Maples Long Term Care Home in Winnipeg and the other linked to the outbreak at St. Boniface hospital.

The new case numbers continue a trend of triple-digit daily announcements in recent weeks, with a record-shattering 480 new cases on Friday. The epicentre of that growth has been in Winnipeg, where the test positivity rate is nine per cent (compared with 8.5 per cent provincewide).

The province is facing ongoing outbreaks at more than a dozen personal care homes and other sites, including Manitoba Hydro’s Keeyask generating station, three Winnipeg hospitals, four schools and nine correctional facilities, along with rising cases in some First Nations.

Strain on the health-care system is mounting as more Manitobans are hospitalized for COVID-19, prompting some health-care workers to voice concern about hospital and health-care system capacity.

Across Canada, many jurisdictions are facing high numbers of COVID-19 cases. As of Nov. 4, Canadian provinces and territories had reported a total of 248,218 confirmed or presumptive cases.

Latest outbreak numbers, at a glance

Health care

COVID-19 outbreaks were declared in five Manitoba health-care centres in the past month, as of Nov. 5. Those are:

Care homes

Manitoba has declared COVID-19 outbreaks at more than a dozen care homes in the province. The outbreaks have resulted in at least 405 cases and 39 deaths as of Nov. 4.

The deadliest outbreak at a Manitoba care home is at Parkview Place in Winnipeg, owned by private company Revera. But the largest outbreak at a care home in the province is at Maples Long-Term Care Home, also in Winnipeg.

The Canadian Red Cross confirmed on Nov. 3 it will step in to help some Manitoba personal care homes battle COVID-19. Revera, the for-profit company that owns several personal care homes including both Maples and Parkview, confirmed it had reached out to the Red Cross for staffing help for those homes.

Here’s the full list of outbreaks at personal care homes in Manitoba that were active as of Nov. 4:

Manitoba had confirmed at least 405 cases of COVID-19 in personal care homes as of Nov. 4, according to data from the province. This data only includes numbers for personal care home outbreaks that are still considered active, therefore it does not reflect the total number of personal care home cases in the province overall. (Province of Manitoba)

Schools

Manitoba currently has COVID-19 active outbreaks at four schools, and one school where an outbreak has been declared over. A COVID-19 outbreak is declared at a school when there is evidence of transmission at the school — that is, if there is evidence that someone became infected by someone else while at the school.

The province’s first school outbreak was at Winnipeg’s John Pritchard School, which the province says was linked to 28 cases of COVID-19: four among staff members and 24 among students. It was declared over on Oct. 20.

In addition to outbreaks, the province has posted dozens of possible exposures at schools across Manitoba on its website — including more than 150 exposures at schools in the Winnipeg health region since Sept. 25.

You can find the full list of possible exposures, including school exposures, on the province’s website. 

Keeyask

The province declared a COVID-19 outbreak at the Keeyask generating station in northern Manitoba on Nov. 3. The site moved to the red, or critical, level — the highest level on the province’s pandemic response scale.

As of Nov. 4, there were 23 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 among Manitoba Hydro workers at the site. An additional eight workers received “not clear” results from Hydro’s private testing and are awaiting confirmation from Cadham Provincial Lab, Hydro said in a statement Wednesday.

All close contacts of the cases are self-isolating, Hydro said. There were 55 staff members in isolation in dorm rooms at the site as of Nov. 4.

First Nations

A total of 24 Manitoba First Nations have reported cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, the Assembly of Manitoba First Nations and the Manitoba First Nations COVID-19 Pandemic Response Co-ordination Team said on Oct. 30, although the organizations won’t specify which ones.

Most of those communities — 17 in total — had active cases as of Oct. 30.

As of Nov. 4, there were a total of 741 active cases of COVID-19 among First Nations people in the province, the pandemic response team says. That includes 378 cases on-reserve and 363 off-reserve.

Aid from the First Nations pandemic response team, as well as assistance from the Red Cross and isolation tents from the federal government, have been deployed to First Nations including Little Grand Rapids, where over 30 people tested positive, and York Factory, where a family of seven tested positive after a trip to Winnipeg.

Correctional facilities

As of Nov. 2, there were active cases of COVID-19 in nine Manitoba correctional facilities. The greatest caseload by far is at Headingley Correctional Centre, where an outbreak was declared on Oct. 13.

The Headingley outbreak was linked to 112 cases as of Nov. 4, said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer. The total includes 25 staff members and 87 inmates.

Outbreaks have also been declared at the Women’s Correctional Centre in Headingley on Nov. 1 and the Agassiz Youth Centre in Portage la Prairie on Oct. 24.

The province provided case numbers for correctional institutions on Nov. 2. Note that the numbers for the outbreak at Headingley Correctional Centre have since been updated, as listed above.

Manitoba had confirmed 130 cases of COVID-19 in correctional institutions as of Nov. 2, according to a provincial spokesperson. (Province of Manitoba)