8 more deaths, 475 new COVID-19 cases as Manitoba adds new restrictions Thursday

Manitoba has reported eight new deaths and 475 new COVID-19 cases Thursday.

Those deaths include:

• a man in his 60s from the Winnipeg health region and linked to the outbreak at the Keekinan Centre;
• a man in his 70s from the Winnipeg health region and linked to the outbreak at Maples Long Term Care Home;
• a man in his 70s from the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region and linked to the outbreak at Rest Haven Nursing Home;
• a woman in her 80s from the Winnipeg health region and linked to the outbreak at Maples Long Term Care Home;
• a man in his 80s from the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region and linked to the outbreak at Rest Haven Nursing Home;
• a woman in her 90s from the Winnipeg health region and linked to the outbreak at Maples Long Term Care Home;
• a man in his 90s from the Prairie Mountain Health region and linked to the outbreak at the Gilbert Plains personal care home; and
• a woman in her 90s from the Prairie Mountain Health region and linked to the outbreak at the Gilbert Plains personal care home.

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The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 14 per cent in the province, and 13.7 per cent in Winnipeg. The 475 new cases bring the total lab-confirmed cases in Manitoba to 12,482. The province’s death toll rises to 198.

Read more: Manitoba reports 11 coronavirus deaths, 400 new cases Wednesday

The deaths and new cases come as Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief provincial health officer, and Premier Brian Pallister implemented new public health orders Thursday, adding teeth to province-wide COVID-19 restrictions, banning gatherings at private residences and limiting retail sales to essential items only.

The changes announced Thursday go into effect starting at 12:01 a.m. Friday.

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Coronavirus: Manitoba’s top doctor says message on how to bring cases down is clear, ‘stay home’

On Wednesday health officials added 400 new cases and said 11 more Manitobans have died from the virus.

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Since March, Manitoba has seen 198 deaths from the coronavirus.

Read more: Report recommends Winnipeg develop fourth branch of emergency services

As of Thursday, 7,629 cases remained active and 4,655 people have recovered from the virus, according to provincial data.

Hospitalization numbers continued to climb Thursday with a record-setting 263 people reportedly in hospital with 43 in intensive care.

Thursday’s list of new cases come from across Manitoba with 271 reported in the Winnipeg Health region, 124 identified in the Southern Health region, 13 reported in the Prairie Mountain Health region, 55 coming from the Northern Health region, and 12 reported in the Interlake-Eastern Health region.

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Meanwhile, deadly outbreaks have been declared at dozens of personal care homes and several hospitals across the province.

The list of outbreaks grew Thursday to include the Buhler Active Living Centre in Winkler, the Oakwood Place in Blumenort and St. Paul’s Personal Care Home in Dauphin.

Enhanced restrictions coming

The entire province was put under level-red restrictions a week ago, closing restaurants, bars, gyms, non-essential retail stores and other facilities.

But under the rules, many big-box retailers have stayed open because part of their inventory includes items listed as essential under provincial health rules.

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Coronavirus: Manitoba records youngest COVID-19 death, 270 new cases

All week Roussin has warned that more restrictions may be needed and has criticized stores that are promoting big sales events despite his pleas for Manitobans to only leave their homes if absolutely necessary.

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Read more: Further restrictions possible as Manitoba businesses find ways to stay open amid lockdowns

Under the enhanced restrictions announced Thursday people will no longer be allowed to have visitors in their home unless they are providing supports such as child care, tutoring and health services.

Another exemption will allow anyone who lives alone to have one person over for social purposes.

The government is also forcing stores to only sell essential items inside and close off sections that offer non-essential goods such as consumer electronics.

Read more: Coronavirus: Manitoba clamps down on gathering sizes, stores can sell essential items only

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Non-essential goods will still be able to be sold online or made available for curbside pickup.

The province is also tweaking the cap on customers inside big-box stores — the limit will be 25 per cent of capacity or 250 people, whichever is less.

–With files from The Canadian Press

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

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