2 more deaths, 349 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba on Saturday

Manitoba announced 349 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, along with two more deaths related to the illness.

That brings the total number of COVID-19-related deaths in the province to 67, and the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to 5,723.

One of the deaths — a woman in her 90s — is linked to an outbreak at Maples Personal Care Home in Winnipeg. The other person who died was a woman in her 50s.

The Maples care home has the second-largest current outbreak in Manitoba. It had led to 92 cases as of Friday, including 77 residents and 15 staff.

Of the new cases, 231 are in the Winnipeg health region, 35 are in the Northern Health region, 34 are in Southern Health, 33 are in the Interlake-Eastern region and 16 are in Prairie Mountain Health.

The new cases announced Saturday were identified over the last several days, but weren’t announced until now due to a backlog, the province said.

Hospitalization and intensive care unit information was not available Saturday due to data processing issues, according to the province’s news release, but was expected to be available later in the day.

The latest numbers come after Manitoba set a new record Friday, with 480 new cases reported. Those cases were also identified over several days.

Officials also announced new restrictions coming into effect across the province Monday, including moving the Winnipeg metropolitan region to the highest level — red, or critical — on the province’s pandemic response system.

That means many businesses and facilities will close, including bars and restaurant dining rooms, movie theatres and concert halls. Most retail outlets will be reduced to 25 per cent capacity.

The rest of the province will be at the orange, or restricted, level as of Monday.

The current five-day test positivity rate — a rolling average of the number of COVID-19 tests that come back positive — is 8.7 per cent for Manitoba. The rate for Winnipeg is 9.9 per cent, but the province cautioned that number may be less reliable due to the smaller sample size.

Cars line up at the Main Street drive-thru COVID-19 test site in Winnipeg in this Oct. 14 photo. Starting Monday, the Winnipeg metropolitan area will move to red, or critical, level on the province’s pandemic response system. The rest of the province will be at the orange, or restricted, level. (Lyzaville Sale/CBC)

A previously announced new drive-thru COVID-19 testing site opened Saturday at the Manitoba Public Insurance building at 125 King Edward St. in Winnipeg.

The site will operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, performing up to 400 tests per day once fully established.

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