Manitoba reports 12 coronavirus deaths, 244 new cases on Christmas Eve

Manitoba health officials say COVID-19 has killed another 12 Manitobans and another 244 people have been infected with the virus.

The latest cases and deaths reported in a government release Thursday bring the province’s total number of cases to 23,624.

Read more: Coronavirus: Manitoba expects 40K vaccinations in January, 15 deaths reported Wednesday

Manitoba hasn’t gone a day without reporting at least one death from COVID-19 since Oct. 20 and just shy of half of the province’s 617 victims of the virus — 306 people — have died in December alone.

Click to play video 'Answering your COVID-19 questions, Dec. 24' Answering your COVID-19 questions, Dec. 24

Answering your COVID-19 questions, Dec. 24

The latest Manitobans to lose their lives to COVID-19 range in age from 30 to 90 and include:

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  • a woman in her 30s from the Southern Health-Santé Sud region;
  • a woman in her 80s from the Southern Health-Santé Sud region;
  • a man in his 80s from the Northern health region;
  • a woman in her 50s from the Winnipeg health region;
  • a woman in her 60s from the Winnipeg health region;
  • a man in his 60s from the Winnipeg health region;
  • a man in his 60s from the Winnipeg health region;
  • a woman in her 80s from the Winnipeg health region;
  • a woman in her 80s from the Winnipeg health region;
  • a man in his 80s from the Winnipeg health region;
  • a woman in her 90s from the Winnipeg health region; and
  • a woman in her 90s from the Winnipeg health region.

The new infections listed Thursday include 114 cases in the Winnipeg Health region, 42 cases in the Southern Health region, three cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region, 41 cases in the Northern Health region, and 44 cases in the Interlake-Eastern Health region.

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The province says there are currently 4,489 active COVID-19, but health officials have said that number may be overstated due to backlogs in contact tracking.

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As of Thursday, provincial data shows there are 346 people in hospital with the virus, including 92 who are no longer infectious, and 31 in ICU, including six patients whom health officials say have recovered but still need critical care.

New outbreaks were declared Thursday at the E5 medicine unit at St. Boniface Hospital, Calvary Place personal care home and Deer Lodge Centre, all in Winnipeg.

Read more: A list of potential coronavirus exposures in Manitoba for the past two weeks

Meanwhile outbreaks at Bridgepark Manor, an assisted living facility in Steinbach, Buhler Active Living Centre in Winkler, and Grace Hospital units 2 South and 3 North in Winnipeg, have ended, the province said.

Testing data show 2,163 tests for COVID-19 were done Wednesday, bringing the total number of lab tests completed since early February to 411,618.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Manitoba officials discuss COVID-19 vaccine distribution, prioritization' Coronavirus: Manitoba officials discuss COVID-19 vaccine distribution, prioritization

Coronavirus: Manitoba officials discuss COVID-19 vaccine distribution, prioritization

The province says the drive-thru testing site at 485 George Ave. in Winkler will close at 6 p.m. on Thursday and reopen Friday with regular hours of operation.

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Health officials have been giving live media briefings on the virus Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and have been releasing data on new cases and deaths online and by press release daily, but the communication schedule will change during the holidays.

Read more: Coronavirus: Hours changed at some Winnipeg COVID-19 testing sites

No briefings, online updates, or press releases are scheduled for Dec. 25, Dec. 26, or Jan. 1.The province says data for the days when no communications are planned will be provided immediately following the days off.

The next press release and online update is scheduled to be released Dec. 27 and the next media availability is scheduled for Dec. 29.

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.

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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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