Health officials continue to see large numbers of COVID-19 cases linked to gatherings as a record number of hospitalizations puts further strain on Manitoba’s health system, public health officials said Wednesday.
Three more people with COVID-19, including a man in his 40s from the Interlake-Eastern health region, have died in Manitoba, while 170 more people have tested positive for the virus.
The latest deaths also include a man in his 80s, linked to the outbreak at Victoria General Hospital in Winnipeg, and a woman in her 80s from the Interlake-Eastern health region, linked to an outbreak at the Misericordia Place care home in Winnipeg.
The woman’s death is the second at Misericordia Place, where 11 people, including eight residents, have tested positive for COVID-19.
The death of the Victoria patient had been previously announced on Tuesday by St. Boniface Hospital, where he had been transferred.
That brings the death toll from the coronavirus in the province to 61 since the start of the pandemic.
Cases linked to gatherings: Roussin
Many of the new cases are linked to people ignoring public health advice by attending large gatherings and leaving their homes even though they have symptoms, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said at a news conference Wednesday.
Cases have been linked to Thanksgiving and other gatherings where people are often sharing items such as vape pens, he said.
In one example, seven cases were linked to the same Thanksgiving dinner.
WATCH | 7 COVID-19 cases linked to Thanksgiving dinner:
Other cases have been linked to people travelling to different parts of the province to visit family, “only to bring the virus with them,” he said.
“And so we can see how our close contacts can quickly become cases and more contacts.”
Hospitalizations hit new record
The number of hospitalizations and intensive care patients set new records on Wednesday, with 89 people in hospital, 19 of them in intensive care. That’s up from 83 hospitalizations on Tuesday, when 15 people were in the ICU.
“The capacity is continuing to be further stretched,” Chief Nursing Officer Lanette Siragusa said at the news conference, with Winnipeg’s ICU capacity at 92 per cent, which is higher than it was on Monday.
There are still beds for patients and supplies, she said.
The number of people in hospital has tripled in 10 days, growing from 29 on Oct. 19 to 89 on Wednesday.
Health Minister Cameron Friesen tried to quell fears that hospitals were on the brink of being overwhelmed at a news conference on Tuesday.
While case numbers are trending in the wrong direction, “We are not at a breaking point,” he said.
Manitoba’s five-day test-positivity rate — the rolling average of the number of COVID-19 tests that come back positive — was 7.3 Wednesday, down slightly from the record high of 7.5 on Tuesday.
The announcement of 170 cases is the third-highest single-day increase the province has recorded, and comes a day after province reported a record 184 new cases.
Most of the new cases are in the Winnipeg health region, where 117 people have tested positive. There are 26 new cases in the Interlake-Eastern health region, 18 in the Southern Health region, six in the Northern Health region, and three in the Prairie Mountain Health region.
WATCH | Stricter rules may be needed in Winnipeg if ‘concerning’ spread continues:
A total of 4,701 people in Manitoba have tested positive for the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. Provincial health data shows 2,334 active cases and 2,306 people recovered, although health officials have said that active case numbers are likely inflated because of a backlog.
Cross Lake First Nation has moved to the red, or “critical,” level on the province’s pandemic response system after multiple people tested positive in the community. The cases are linked to a funeral attended by someone who didn’t have symptoms but later tested positive for COVID-19, which the province announced on Tuesday.
Care home, hospital outbreaks
The St. Boniface outbreak has now led to infections in 25 patients and 11 staff, while the Victoria outbreak has infected 21 patients and 19 staff.
The province announced a 19th death in an outbreak at the Parkview Place personal care home on Tuesday, where 94 residents and 32 staff members have now tested positive for the virus.
Revera, the for-profit company that runs Parkview Place, also operates the Maples Long Term Care Home, where 69 residents at the 200-bed facility had tested positive by Tuesday, up from 35 on Monday. Seven staff have also tested positive.
All positive cases at the Maples care home are asymptomatic and were discovered as part of surveillance testing of all residents and staff, Revera said in a statement.
An outbreak at Heritage Lodge in Winnipeg has infected 20 people, including 15 residents.
Meanwhile, an outbreak at the St. Norbert Personal Care Home has been declared over, health officials said.
Provincial public health officials have announced a number of recent possible exposures of COVID-19 in Manitoba, including:
- Oct. 13 and 14: Linwood School.
- Oct. 16: Eddie Bauer at CF Polo Park from 12 noon to 8:30 p.m.
- Oct. 18: Eddie Bauer at CF Polo Park from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Oct. 19: Glenlawn Collegiate.
- Oct. 19 and 20:
- Windsor Park Collegiate.
- Maples Collegiate.
- École Howden.
- Oct. 20: Eddie Bauer at CF Polo Park from 12 noon to 4:30 p.m.
- Oct. 19 to 21: The Manitoba School for the Deaf.
- Oct. 22: Winnipeg Transit Route 77, boarding at Mandalay Drive and Mapleton Drive and getting off at CF Polo Park, 11 a.m. to 11:40 a.m.
- Oct. 22 and 23:
- St. Emile Catholic School.
- Rainbow Day Nursery Inc.
- Oct. 16: College Lorette Collegiate.
WATCH | Full news conference on COVID-19 | Oct. 28, 2020:
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