A little over a week after the Manitoba government lifted all COVID-19 restrictions — including a rule mandating masks in all public spaces — health officials say the number of people in hospital and ICU due to the virus has risen.
The week-over-week increase comes despite a drop in hospitalizations and ICU admissions reported in the last 24 hours.
According to numbers released by the province Thursday, Manitoba saw 128 new hospitalizations linked to COVID-19 and 11 new admissions to intensive care units due to the virus over the past week.
That’s a 4.9 per cent increase in hospitalizations and a 57.1 per cent jump in ICU numbers.
But while the overall numbers appeared to be on the rise in the last week, data reported on the province’s online COVID-19 dashboard show 369 people were in hospital with the virus as of Thursday morning, down 18 from Wednesday.
The province says the of number people in ICU as a result of COVID-19 also fell to 18 as of Thursday morning, four fewer than had been reported 24 hours earlier.
Meanwhile, health officials reported four additional deaths linked to the virus Thursday and released information about the 15 Manitobans with COVID-19 who have died over the past week.
The latest victims of the virus include nine women and six men, ranging in age between 50 and over 100.
Four of the deaths are connected to outbreaks at personal care homes, and one is linked to an outbreak at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg.
Manitoba lifted all remaining public health orders that were put in place to try to slow the spread of COVID-19 as of March 15.
Masks are no longer required to be worn in public spaces, and travel restrictions to northern Manitoba and isolation requirements for people who test positive for COVID-19 have also ended.
Masks will still have to be worn by anyone going to a health-care facility and health officials are still recommending those who test positive for COVID-19 isolate for five days after symptoms start.
— 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 mandatory in indoor public spaces.
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