Manitoba will report nearly 750 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the highest single-day case count since the pandemic began, as health officials once again urged people to change holiday plans in an attempt to avoid straining the health-care system.
Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer, said on Friday the case numbers are similar to what is being reported across Canada. The exact case number will be known at 12:30 p.m. when the province releases its bulletin.
“These increased case counts mean we’re going to be seeing increased demand on our testing system,” Roussin said, adding the current testing backlog for results is approximately 10,000 tests.
Roussin adds the case count is likely an underestimate due to the testing backlog, and plans are being discussed to increase testing capacity.
He said the rising case numbers are due to Omicron, and with the high case numbers, the province should expect to see “significant strain” on the health-care system. Roussin said in the past week, 14 new COVID-19 patients were admitted to intensive care units.
“Given that we’re still learning about Omicron, we cannot rely on some of the reports of Omicron being less severe, because we have so many more cases being transmitted,” he said. “We know this will strain our health-care system; we know we have to keep these numbers down.”
Because of the testing backlog and increased case counts, Roussin is urging Manitobans to change holiday plans again, and limit their contacts.
“If you’re going to three or four gatherings this weekend, it should be down to one,” he said. “If you’re having 10 people over, we should limit that number further. We need to adjust our plans on the go here, because we’re seeing rapid transmission of Omicron throughout the province.”
Roussin said people with underlying conditions should not attend gatherings this weekend.
This is a breaking news story. More to come.
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