Manitoba reported its highest jump in COVID-19 cases in almost two weeks on Friday, nearly one-quarter of which are from a remote First Nations community.
More than 100 of the 447 new cases were confirmations of rapid tests done recently on Shamattawa First Nation, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said at a news conference.
Cases in the fly-in community have skyrocketed, with roughly one in four people infected and members of the Canadian Armed Forces called in to help, Chief Eric Redhead said on Thursday.
While that First Nation has been hit hard in recent weeks, Roussin said, First Nations people living in urban and rural settings have been disproportionately affected by the illness in Manitoba’s second wave.
About half of those now in hospital with COVID-19 are First Nations, as are roughly one in three new cases, he said.
WATCH | Dr. Brent Roussin on COVID-19 in First Nations communities:
The severity of Manitoba’s COVID-19 cases across the board has also increased in recent months, Roussin said.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, about 7.5 per cent of people who contracted the disease in Manitoba have had severe outcomes including hospitalization, intensive care admission and death, Roussin said. And since Thanksgiving — about two months ago — the province’s COVID-19 death rate has increased by more than nine times, he said.
“We need to bring these cases down. We need to be on our guard during this holiday season,” Roussin said. “We have a lot of this virus circulating right now and we’re at risk of escalating transmission.”
Just under half of the new cases announced Friday are in the Winnipeg health region (193), while nearly one-third (136) are in the Northern Health Region, with the jump in cases there attributed largely to the outbreak in Shamattawa and confirmation of rapid tests in other northern communities, Roussin said.
There are 43 new cases in the Interlake-Eastern health region, 40 in the Southern Health region and 35 in the Prairie Mountain Health region.
Fourteen more people in Manitoba have died from the illness, Roussin said, including two men in their 50s from the Winnipeg health region and eight other deaths connected to outbreaks at care homes and health-care facilities.
There are now 388 people in hospital who have or had COVID-19, Shared Health Chief Nursing Officer Lanette Siragusa said at the news conference.
That includes 298 still in their infectious period and another 90 patients who are past that stage, but still need in-patient care, she said. The number of infectious people is a number the province has been reporting for months, while the number of COVID-19 hospital patients who are no longer infectious is information that the province hasn’t released daily.
As of Friday morning, there were 53 people in intensive care who have or had COVID-19, Siragusa said. That number encompasses 40 patients who are still infectious and another 13 long-term patients who are no longer infectious but are still very sick, she said.
Forty-eight of the 78 people on ventilators in Manitoba have or had COVID-19, she said, including eight who are among the long-term COVID-19 patients who are no longer infectious.
“What this data shows us is that a significant portion of people who are hospitalized with COVID have lengthy stays that outlast their infectious period,” Siragusa said.
The latest deaths bring Manitoba’s coronavirus-linked death toll to 465, Roussin said, and include:
- Two Winnipeg women in their 80s linked to the outbreak at Holy Family Home.
- A woman in her 70s linked to the outbreak at the Health Sciences Centre GD4.
- A woman in her 80s linked to the Charleswood Care Centre.
- A woman in her 90s linked to the Saul and Claribel Simkin Centre.
- A woman in her 90s linked to the Bethania Mennonite Personal Care Home.
- A man in his 90s from the Rest Haven Nursing Home.
- A woman in her 100s linked to the Villa Youville personal care home.
- A man in his 70s from the Interlake-Eastern health region.
- Three people from the Winnipeg health region: a woman and a man in their 80s and a man in his 90s.
More hospital outbreaks
Manitoba’s five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate — a rolling average of the tests that come back positive — is up again to 13.8 per cent. In Winnipeg, the rate is down to 13.2 per cent.
Two previously reported COVID-19 cases were removed from Manitoba’s total on Friday because of a data correction, bringing the total number of cases identified in the province above 20,000 for the first time — to 20,392.
To date, 14,410 people are listed as recovered from COVID-19, while 5,517 are still considered active cases — though Roussin said that number is still inflated because of a data entry backlog.
Outbreaks of COVID-19 have been declared in the Hamiota Health Centre’s acute care unit and at Seven Oaks General Hospital’s 3U4-7 unit in Winnipeg.
Starting Jan. 4, the Hanover School Division will move back to the orange restricted level on the pandemic response system, Roussin said, joining other school divisions across the province. Hanover will stay at the critical red level until the holiday break.
Possible COVID-19 exposures in public places are listed by region on the province’s website.
There were 2,723 COVID-19 tests completed in Manitoba on Thursday, bringing the total number of tests done in the province since early February to 383,404.
WATCH | Full news conference on COVID-19 | Dec. 11, 2020:
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