Health officials in Manitoba say third wave of COVID-19 pandemic has arrived; 179 new cases on Friday

WINNIPEG — Health officials say the pandemic’s third wave has hit Manitoba, as COVID-19 cases hit triple digits for the third day in a row, and dozens more variant cases are reported.

On Friday, Manitoba public health reported 179 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the province’s five-day test positivity rate up to 5.5 per cent.

“I just want to be clear that we are in the beginnings of a third wave in Manitoba,” Dr. Joss Reimer, the medical lead of Manitoba’s Vaccine Implementation Task Force, said on Friday.

She said the actions of Manitobans are critical to avoid more restrictions.

“We have to continue to be vigilant. Please keep wearing your mask, limiting your contacts, following public health guidelines, and follow the fundamentals.”

Reimer said the daily COVID-19 case numbers have been increasing in Manitoba over the past several days, and with it, the proportion of cases identified as variants of concern.

Public health identified 37 new screened or sequenced cases of the variants of concern – which includes 33 cases of the B.1.1.7. variant. Winnipeg saw 28 of these cases, while three were reported in the Prairie Mountain Health region, and one case was reported in both the Interlake-Eastern region and Southern Health.

Four cases have not yet been categorized.

So far, the province has reported 376 variant of concern cases – including 332 cases of the B.1.1.7. variant, 20 cases of the B.1.351 variant, and 24 uncategorized cases.

“We need to be very cautious as we see these numbers start to creep up,” Reimer said. “We don’t want to delay response while we wait to see what happens.”

She said public health is analyzing how other provinces have responded to the third wave.

COVID-19 CASES REPORTED ACROSS THE PROVINCE

The majority of Friday’s COVID-19 cases were reported in the Northern health region, which saw 84 new cases. This was followed by Winnipeg, which reported 77 cases bringing the city’s five-day test positivity rate up to 5.1 per cent.

Nine cases were reported in the Prairie Mountain Health region, seven were reported in the Southern Health region, and two were reported in the Interlake–Eastern health region.

These cases bring Manitoba’s COVID-19 case total to 34,969 – though three cases have been removed due to a data correction. The total includes 1,180 active cases and 32,840 people who have recovered from COVID-19.

The province said 317 cases were moved from active to recovered on Friday following case reviews.

Public health reported 136 people were in hospital with COVID-19 as of Friday, including 56 people with active cases and 80 people who are no longer infectious.

There were 35 COVID-19 patients in intensive care, including 14 people with active cases, and 21 people who are no longer infectious but still need critical care.

Reimer said on Friday there have been cases where vaccinated people have been admitted to hospital with COVID-19.

THREE MORE COVID-19 DEATHS – INCLUDING MAN IN HIS 20S

Along with these cases, the province reported three more people have died with COVID-19 – including a man in his 20s from the Northern Health Region and a man in his 60s from Winnipeg.

The death of a woman in her 70s in Winnipeg reported on Friday has been linked to the COVID-19 outbreak at the Golden Links Lodge.

These deaths bring the COVID-19 death toll in Manitoba to 949.

The province said 2,474 tests were completed on Thursday, bringing the total number of lab tests done since early February 2020 to 599,622. 

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