The latest on COVID-19 outbreaks in Manitoba schools, care homes, jails and more

A Manitoba woman in her 30s has become the youngest person in the province to die from COVID-19.

The death of the woman from the Interlake-Eastern health authority was announced Tuesday, as the number of patients in hospital and the province’s five-day test-positivity rate both reached new highs.

The province has seen triple-digit daily increases of coronavirus cases every day since Oct. 20, and intensive care units are now at or near capacity.

Premier Brian Pallister announced Tuesday the province has hired the private security firm G4S to hand out tickets to people who violate public health orders, starting this weekend. 

He also said the province is filing charges, in addition to levying fines, against protesters who flouted pandemic regulations at a rally in Steinbach over the past weekend. The rally was intended to oppose the latest pandemic restrictions, which came into effect last Thursday.

On Monday, Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman urged the province to expand those orders to stop large commercial businesses from selling non-essential items, in order to discourage people from shopping and to be fair to smaller businesses that have been forced to close.

Pallister also said on Tuesday that Manitoba K-12 students could get a two-week extension to their winter break. The province is mulling the move to add one incubation period — the span in which somebody who contracted COVID-19 may spread it to someone else — to the break, in order to prevent the spread of the illness in schools.

Latest outbreak numbers, at a glance

Health care

COVID-19 outbreaks have been declared in seven Manitoba health-care centres, as of Nov. 17. Those are:

  • Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg: Two HSC patients have died, while 20 patients and 18 staff have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Nov. 17 in an outbreak in the hospital’s GA4 unit, which was declared on Nov. 4, according to Manitoba Shared Health. On Nov. 16, Shared Health announced outbreaks had also been declared in the hospitals GH3 and GA3 units. As of Nov. 17, seven patients and five staff had tested positive in GH3, and two patients in GA3 unit.
  • St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg: In an update on Nov. 17, the hospital said it had two new deaths linked to outbreaks in multiple units, bringing the death toll to 12. A total of 29 patients and 20 staff have tested positive, according to the hospital. The outbreak was declared on Oct. 16.
  • Victoria General Hospital in Winnipeg: According to a Nov. 16 update on the hospital’s website, one more person has died due to an outbreak declared on Oct. 22, bringing the death toll in that outbreak to 11. In total, 42 patients and 38 staff have tested positive with the outbreaks linked to the hospital’s 5N and 5S family medicine units. The hospital also reported a second outbreak in Unit 4 South, the geriatric rehabilitation unit, where seven patients and four staff members have tested positive.
  • Bethesda Regional Health Centre in Steinbach: One person has died as a result of an outbreak declared in the hospital’s medicine unit on Oct. 29. That outbreak has been linked to 14 infections in total, with 10 staff and four “non-staff” infected. An outbreak has also been declared in the emergency department at the Bethesda Regional Health Centre, where one patient has died, and two staff and two “non-staff” have tested positive. On Tuesday, the province announced an outbreak had been declared in the centre’s surgical and obstetrics unit, with two staff members testing positive.
  • Swan Valley Health Centre in Swan River: The province declared an outbreak at this health centre and the attached Swan Valley Personal Care Home on Oct. 25. As of Nov. 17, it had resulted in six staff infections and five “non-staff” infections, according to the province.
  • Carman Memorial Hospital in Carman: One person has died as a result of the outbreak, with two staff and seven “non-staff” infections, as of Nov. 17.

Care homes

Manitoba has declared COVID-19 outbreaks at more than three dozen care homes and assisted living centres. The outbreaks have resulted in at least 692 cases and 85 deaths as of Nov. 17.

On Tuesday, the province announced outbreaks had been declared at Bridgepark Manor assisted living facility in Steinbach, Southeast Personal Care Home in Winnipeg, Fairview Personal Care Home in Brandon, and Winnipegosis Personal Care Home in Winnipegosis.

The deadliest outbreak at a Manitoba care home is now at Maples Long Term Care Home, which is owned by the private company Revera, after 11 deaths were reported there on Saturday and seven on Sunday

Previously, that position was held by Parkview Place in Winnipeg, which is also owned by Revera

The provincial government has launched an investigation into the two care homes.

Notes:

  • Some outbreaks have not yet been entered into the province’s database, so totals are not available at this time for: Actionmarguerite St. Vital, Cedarwood Supportive Housing, Misericordia Health Centre’s Transitional Unit, St. Amant Health and Transition Services, Swan Valley Lodge PCH, the Convalescent Home of Winnipeg, River East PCH, St. Paul’s Residence PCH, Oakview Place PCH, Bridgepark Manor assisted living facility, Southeast PCH, Fairview PCH, and Winnipegosis PCH.
  • An outbreak at Meadowood Manor personal care home was declared over on Nov. 5, so it is no longer reflected in the province’s data. That outbreak had been linked to one case of COVID-19 in a staff member, who had recovered as of Nov. 4.
  • Meanwhile, the outbreak at the Golden West Centennial Lodge in Winnipeg was declared over on Nov. 14. That outbreak was initially declared on Oct. 20.

Schools

Manitoba had recorded 675 cases of COVID-19 in schools as of Nov. 17, a spokesperson for the province said. A total of 513 of those cases were students, and 162 were staff members.

Some of those cases are linked to outbreaks, which are declared when there is evidence of transmission at the school — that is, if there is evidence that someone became infected by someone else while at the school.

As of Nov. 17, Manitoba currently has four active COVID-19 outbreaks at schools and two schools where earlier outbreaks have been declared over.

The province’s first school outbreak was at Winnipeg’s John Pritchard School, which the province says was linked to 28 cases of COVID-19: four among staff members and 24 among students. It was declared over on Oct. 20.

Another outbreak, at Bird’s Hill School in East St. Paul, was declared on Oct. 20, and was declared over on Nov. 10.

The province has posted dozens of possible exposures at schools across Manitoba on its website — including more than 150 exposures at schools in the Winnipeg health region since Sept. 25.

You can find the full list of possible exposures, including school exposures, on the province’s website. 

Keeyask

The province declared a COVID-19 outbreak at the Keeyask generating station construction site in northern Manitoba on Nov. 3. The site moved to the red, or critical, level — the highest level on the province’s pandemic response scale.

On Nov. 16, Manitoba Hydro announced it was bringing workers back to the construction site. 

As of Nov. 17, there were 28 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 among Manitoba Hydro workers at the site. An additional 11 workers received “not clear” results from Hydro’s private testing and are awaiting confirmation from Cadham Provincial Lab, Hydro said on its website Sunday.

All close contacts of the cases are self-isolating, Hydro said. There were six staff members in isolation in dorm rooms at the site as of Nov. 17.

First Nations

A total of 24 Manitoba First Nations have reported cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, the Assembly of Manitoba First Nations and the Manitoba First Nations COVID-19 Pandemic Response Co-ordination Team said on Oct. 30, although the organizations won’t specify which ones.

As of Nov. 13, there were a total of 1,123 active cases of COVID-19 among First Nations people in the province, the pandemic response team says. That includes 508 cases on-reserve and 615 off-reserve.

Mounting cases in Peguis First Nation prompted that community to move to the red, or critical, level on Nov. 5. Public gatherings are not permitted and residents must stay at home unless seeking testing or medical care, or to send one person from a household for essential supplies.

Aid from the First Nations pandemic response team, as well as assistance from the Red Cross and isolation tents from the federal government, have been deployed to First Nations including Little Grand Rapids, where over 30 people tested positive, and York Factory, where a family of seven tested positive after a trip to Winnipeg.

Correctional facilities

As of Nov. 17, there were active cases of COVID-19 in seven provincial correctional facilities, with 275 total infections — 59 among staff and 216 among “non-staff.”

The greatest caseload by far is at Headingley Correctional Centre, where an outbreak was declared on Oct. 13. That outbreak has led to infections in 38 staff and 178 “non-staff,” as of Nov. 13.

An outbreak was also declared at  the federal Stony Mountain Institution on Nov. 14, where 28 inmates and eight staff have tested positive, making it the second largest outbreak in a Manitoba correctional facility. 

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