Manitoba announces one new death, 63 new cases of COVID-19

WINNIPEG — Health officials in Manitoba have announced one new death linked to COVID-19 on Monday.

The death was a woman in her 80s from the Northern Health Region. She was not connected to any outbreaks.

Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, said a previously announced death from December 29, 2020, was removed due to a data correction, meaning the death toll sits at 907.

Manitoba also added 63 new cases, pushing the total to 32,288 since March 2020.

Of the new cases, the Northern Health Region had 36, Winnipeg had 25 and the Southern Health Region had two.

Both the Prairie Mountain Health Region and the Interlake-Eastern Health Region had zero cases.

The five-day test positivity rate is 3.5 per cent in Manitoba and 2.4 per cent in Winnipeg.

Roussin also mentioned on Monday that the vaccine eligibility has also been expanded and now people 80 or older can get the shot, while First Nation people 60 or older can receive the vaccine.

“The province recognizes that spouses or other household members may become eligible at the same time, so individuals can now make an appointment for more than one person at a time, so long as all the individuals are currently eligible,” said Roussin.

Manitoba currently has 1,145 active cases, and 30,236 people have recovered.

There are 54 people in hospital who have COVID-19, with 10 of those people in intensive care.

Another 110 people no longer have active COVID-19, but still require care, 12 of those people are in ICU.

On Sunday, 1,390 tests were completed and there have been 538,759 total tests since February 2020.

VARIANT TESTING

No new variants were identified in Manitoba as of Monday, and Roussin said the province will now be testing all tests not only for the B.1.1.7 variant first found in the United Kingdom, but also the B.1.3.5.1 variant first found in South Africa.

Roussin said officials started testing for the B.1.1.7. variant in early February and they now have the ability to do the same for the B.1.3.5.1.

“To ensure we have a better understanding of the impact of that variant in Manitoba, we’re screening samples from all tests from the beginning of February right now. This retrospective work is not a typical approach, but we wanted to ensure we had a good understanding of our variant situation.”

So far, there have been six cases of the B.1.1.7 variant and three cases of the B.1.3.5.1 variant in the province.

Roussin was asked why screening for the B.1.3.5.1. variant didn’t start at the same time as the U.K. one.

“It just takes time to develop, to validate these things and so the U.K., the B.1.1.7., was developed first, followed by the variant concerned first identified in South Africa.”

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