COVID-19 transmission on the rise in Manitoba, BA.2 most prominent strain: Roussin

COVID-19 transmission in Manitoba is increasing, according to the province’s top doctor.

Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, noted the BA.2 COVID-19 variant is the main strain circulating in Manitoba according to wastewater data, noting it makes up 60 per cent of transmission in Manitoba.

He added this also means that test positivity rates are also up as well as hospital admissions.

“Most of those admissions are related to those 80 plus years of age. Over that same time frame, though, we are seeing a decrease in more severe outcomes such as ICU and deaths,” said Roussin.

He added that BA.2 is more contagious than the Omicron variant but he said there isn’t an increase in severity.

Despite the data showing the increasing transmission, Roussin said there are no plans in place to reinstitute something like a mask mandate.

“Certainly, we have used those mask mandates in the past, we know that masks are effective. We still recommend that to Manitobans, especially if you are high risk,” he said, adding health officials will continue to review the possibility as time goes on.

Roussin is urging Manitobans who are eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine, including a third and fourth booster if they are able to.

“Vaccines are still the best way to protect ourselves and the people around us.”

He said around 80 per cent of people ages 12 to 17 have two doses and 88 per cent of all adults have two doses. Roussin said more than half of adults have received their third dose.

He added the five to 11-year-old age range needs work as around 41 per cent have two doses.

 

More details to come.

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