New COVID-19 modelling reveals how the pandemic might hit Manitoba in December

WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s first glimpse at COVID-19 modelling data shows that minimal COVID-19 restrictions and poor compliance could lead the province down an extreme path that will overwhelm the health-care system.

On Friday, the province released its first COVID-19 modelling data which gives residents a glimpse at how the pandemic will impact Manitoba.

The modelling simulates the spread of COVID-19 cases up to the end of December, and the implications those cases will have on the health-care system.

“It really simulates the lives and decisions of all 1.4 million Manitobans,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer.

Roussin said the modelling only provides projections about three weeks into the future, anything further than that will not be accurate.

He said for every 48 cases of COVID-19, on average, there are three people hospitalized and one death. He said the second wave of COVID-19 in Manitoba has been “substantially greater” than the first wave that hit the province in the spring.

“Our curve at present is far beyond what we are able to sustain in the health-care system,” Roussin said. “We are seeing more cases in a single day than we experienced in the entire first wave.”


Manitoba Public Health has mapped out four scenarios for Manitoba this December: Extreme, severe, moderate and controlled.

The extreme scenario gives a snapshot of what the province would look like with minimal restrictions and poor compliance, which could lead to a rapid rise in cases.

Under this scenario, the province is projected to hit 825 daily cases of COVID-19 by Sunday. However, that number could range as low as 419 daily cases to as high as 1,055. The worst-case scenario projects Manitoba will hit nearly 1,500 daily cases of COVID-19 by the end of December.

“Additional measures put in place this month aim to change that trajectory,” Roussin said, citing province-wide restrictions that went into effect on Nov. 12.

Manitoba’s severe scenario projects how COVID-19 would impact the province with some restrictions in place and poor compliance, which could lead to an increase in cases.

In the worst case of this scenario, Manitoba would be reporting more than 500 cases daily by the end of December, averaging around 250 total daily cases.

The moderate scenario gives a snapshot of the province with more restrictions and good compliance. They said this scenario would lead to a manageable number of cases.

The controlled scenario is the best-case option. It gives a look at the province under full restrictions such as a lockdown, and good compliance to those restrictions. This scenario projects a decrease in cases.


“Right now we are at a critical place – we are following scenario one, extreme,” Roussin said, adding the current numbers are part of an “unsustainable curve.”

Manitoba’s current case numbers are in the low range of the severe scenario, but Roussin said it is too early to tell what scenario the province will fall into during December.

He said Manitobans can still achieve the moderate or controlled scenarios, but lifting restrictions now would likely lead to a severe scenario.

“As we see more cases, we are going to see more hospitalizations and unfortunately more deaths,” Roussin said, adding this is “tragic, but predictable.”

This is a developing story. More to come.

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