Manitoba warns of possible coronavirus variant exposures in Winnipeg

Health officials in Manitoba are warning of three recent possible exposures to a more-contagious variant of COVID-19 in Winnipeg.

They say the potential exposures to a probable B.1.1.7 variant of concern happened at the following locations in the city over the weekend:

  • March 5 – Silver Heights Restaurant at 2169 Portage Ave. in Winnipeg from 5 to 7 p.m.;
  • March 6 – Chicken Chef Restaurant at Unicity Mall, 3770 Portage Ave. in Winnipeg from 5 to 7 p.m.; and
  • March 6 – Garden City Hairstylists in the Garden City Shopping Centre at #143-2305 McPhillips St. in Winnipeg from noon to 12:30 p.m.

The B.1.1.7 variant, first discovered in the United Kingdom, is one of a number of so-called “variants of concern” or VoCs to have been identified since the pandemic began a year ago.

Read more: Fear, dread, helplessness: Winnipeg critical care doctor reflects on year of COVID-19

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It is up to 50% more transmissible than the virus that surged last spring and again in the fall, making it more adept at thwarting measures that were previously effective, World Health Organization experts have warned. Scientists have concluded that it is also more deadly.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Manitoba detects first case of South African variant' Coronavirus: Manitoba detects first case of South African variant

Coronavirus: Manitoba detects first case of South African variant

The variant was first reported in Manitoba Feb. 9.

The province says anyone who is concerned about their exposure to or risk of having COVID-19 should call Health Links at 204-788-8200 or 1-800-315-9257 to be screened to see if a test is required.

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Manitoba has so far reported 11 cases of the U.K. variant as well as 11 cases of another variant of concern, the  B.1.351 strain, first discovered in South Africa.

Read more: Coronavirus: Manitoba reports 5 new cases of UK variant, 8 new cases of South African strain

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No new variants of concern were reported in Manitoba Thursday.

Health officials did, however, report 91 new COVID-19 infections and three additional deaths.

The virus’s latest victims include a woman in her 60s from the Winnipeg Health region, a woman in her 90s connected to an outbreak outbreak at Actionmarguerite St. Boniface in Winnipeg, and a man in his 70s from the Northern Health region.

Manitoba’s COVID-19 death toll now sits at 911.

Thursday’s new infections come from around the province, with the most — 50 new cases — being reported in the Northern Health region.

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Another 31 cases were reported in the Winnipeg Health region, seven infections were found in the Southern Health region, two cases were reported in the Prairie Mountain Health region, and one case was reported in the Interlake-Eastern Health region.

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A total of 1,204 cases remain active, health officials said, and 30,394 Manitobans with the virus have recovered.

The number of Manitobans who have contracted COVID-19 rose to 32,509 Thursday after three previously announced cases were removed from the list due to what the province says are data corrections.

As of Thursday morning health officials said there are 54 people in hospital with active COVID-19 as well as 102 who are no longer infectious but continue to require care, for a total of 156 hospitalizations.

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Answering your COVID-19 questions, March 11

There are eight people in intensive care units with active COVID-19 as well as 14 who are no longer infectious but continue to require critical care for a total of 22 ICU patients.

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The province said outbreaks at both St. Boniface Hospital unit A5 and Seven Oaks General Hospital 3U1-3 in Winnipeg, have ended.

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Laboratory testing numbers show 2,116 tests were completed Wednesday, bringing the total number of lab tests completed since early February 2020 to 544,042.

The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 3.7 per cent provincially and 2.7 per cent in Winnipeg.

–With files from The Associated Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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