Two more people have died from COVID-19 in Manitoba, the province announced Wednesday, and one of them was a teenage boy from the Winnipeg area.
The second death was a Winnipeg man in his 50s linked to the Alpha variant, first identified in the United Kingdom. The province released no further information about the teen who died.
Public health officials also announced 250 new cases Wednesday — 136 of which were in the provincial capital — but test positivity rates are down provincewide, including 0.5 per cent in Manitoba overall and 0.3 per cent in the city.
The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 11.5 per cent provincially and 12.3 per cent in Winnipeg.
Meanwhile, Manitoba’s chief nursing officer said Wednesday two more critically ill Manitobans with COVID-19 have died while receiving care out of province.
Both patients, a man in his 70s and a woman in her 60s, had been transferred to separate facilities in Ontario May 25, Lanette Siragusa said.
Since March 2020, 1,081 Manitobans with COVID-19 have died, and 53,403 people have fallen ill with the virus.
Hospitalizations saw a decrease in Manitoba, dropping to 323 as of Wednesday morning, or 14 fewer in care. But that total number also includes the 30 critically ill Manitobans who are receiving out-of-province care in neighbouring Ontario and Saskatchewan, as well as in Alberta.
Since Manitoba started transporting patients out of province for care May 18, 21 patients have been returned to Manitoba hospitals.
As of Wednesday morning Siragusa there were 121 patients in Manitoba ICUs, including 67 COVID-19 patients.
While lower case counts provide “a light at the end of the tunnel” for the province’s health care system, Siragusa said Manitoba’s health care facilities continue to face “extreme pressure.”
She said eight COVID-19 patients were admitted to Manitoba ICUs in the last 24 hours, and over the weekend 24 patients were admitted to ICU over 48 hours.
“I know that everyone is very tired of the public health restrictions, but we just need to hang on for a little bit longer,” she said.
“We need to do this for our health-care workers who have shown unwavering dedication to their profession and to their patients over the last 15 months.
“Please follow the public health orders and help lower the transmission rate and if you haven’t made an appointment to get vaccinated, please do so as soon as possible.”
Siragusa said no COVID-19 patients have been transferred out of the province for care since June 4, but added further transfers are expected in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile delays to surgery caused by the redeployment of healthcare workers to cover Manitoba’s stretched ICUs led to two elective cardiac patients being sent out of province to have their surgeries last week, Siragusa said.
She said roughly 15,000 non-urgent and elective surgeries have been postponed in Winnipeg alone over the past 15 months.
A provincial website tracking variant of concern cases, normally updated Tuesday through Saturday, was not updated Wednesday.
At last word Tuesday Manitoba has recorded 12,907 variant cases and 93 deaths have been linked to the more-contagious strains.
According to the province, Manitoba is nearing the 800,000-mark when it comes to lab tests for COVID-19 — the 2,713 tests completed Tuesday bring the total number since February 2020 to 792,471.
On Tuesday the province announced 237 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths.
–With files from Shane Gibson
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