7 more COVID deaths in Manitoba, 40 more hospitalizations since Wednesday

Seven more Manitobans have died of COVID-19 and 40 more are in hospital with the disease since Wednesday, according to internal provincial memos obtained by CBC News.

As of Monday, April 11, 1,764 Manitobans have died of COVID-19, according to the memos. That’s a rise of seven COVID deaths since CBC News obtained an internal dashboard last week. 

The memos show there are 426 COVID-19 patients in Manitoba hospitals on Monday. That’s a rise of 40 patients since Wednesday.

There are also 24 patient in ICU, a rise of three patients since Wednesday. One of the current patients is a child or infant in pediatric ICU.

The province no longer releases to the public the number of people in hospital. Instead, the province publishes weekly epidemiological reports that summarize the number of new hospital admissions.

On Thursday, Manitoba chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said COVID-19 transmission is on the rise in Manitoba but denied COVID hospitalizations are also rising.

“When we look at the numbers, we’re seeing essentially a plateau,” he said.

Roussin also cautioned against using hospital admission as a measure of the prevalence of the disease.

“There’s a lot of incidental admissions at the hospital because everyone being admitted to hospitals is being tested. So many of those admissions aren’t even there because of COVID-19,” Roussin told reporters at a news briefing at the Manitoba Legislative building.

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, claimed hospitalizations due to COVID are at a plateau last week and suggested some hospital cases are incidental. (Ian Froese/CBC)

Wastewater monitoring published by the Public Health Agency of Canada on Friday also found increasing concentrations of the virus that causes COVID-19 in Winnipeg wastewater. That information, however, was only current to April 1.

On Sunday Dr. Heather Smith, a Grace Hospital ICU physician, took to Twitter to blast the provincial government for failing to do anything to mitigate COVID-19 transmission. 

“Well, we have COVID and my main symptom is anger. I’m angry that I can basically pack up my kids, throw our masks in the garbage and head off for a fun day at Costco or the movies,” Smith tweeted.

“I’m angry that I have COVID during the few days off I was supposed to recover from my last stretch of ICU service, during which I looked after an increasing number of new COVID admissions representing the latest surge that’s starting.”

Smith said she is disappointed Manitoba’s pandemic response continues to be reactive and fears operating rooms will have to close again if hospital workers have to be seconded back to COVID care.

On March 15, Manitoba ended indoor mask mandates as well as mandatory quarantine for people infected with the disease.

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