‘We don’t like what we see’: 127 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba on Friday, 57 new variant cases

WINNIPEG — There were no new COVID-19 deaths reported in Manitoba, though health officials said 127 new COVID-19 cases and 57 new variant cases were identified.

On Friday, public health officials said the new COVID-19 cases bring Manitoba’s total number of cases since the pandemic started to 35,815 – including 1,551 active cases and 33,309 people who have recovered.

The total number of COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba remains at 955.

“We have seen case numbers start to increase in the past several days. We’ve been keeping a close eye on them, and we don’t like what we see,” said. Dr. Jazz Atwal, the deputy chief provincial public health officer.

He said the province’s five-day test positivity has gone up by nearly two per cent in the last two weeks. On Friday, it was reported to be 5.1 per cent.

Winnipeg once again saw the highest number of cases on Friday, with 75 cases reported. The city’s five-day test positivity rate dropped to 4.9 per cent.

The other cases reported on Friday include:

  • 29 cases in the Northern health region;
  • 12 cases in the Interlake–Eastern health region;
  • six cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region; and
  • five cases in the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region.

“Variants of concern are quickly taking hold in Manitoba,” Atwal said, adding variant cases have been found in every health region in the province.

“This is concerning as variants spread more easily.”

According to the provincial variant dashboard, the province reported 57 new variant of concern cases on Friday. This brings the total number of variant of concern cases in Manitoba to 704, including 315 active cases and 387 recovered cases.

The majority of these cases (616) are the B.1.1.7. variant, which Atwal said is quickly becoming the dominant strain of the COVID-19 virus in Manitoba.

He said variant cases made up nearly 40 per cent of all new cases in Winnipeg between April 1 and 7, adding nearly all clusters in the city have been linked to a variant case.

“We are on track to see the number of cases due to a variant of concern double in the next 10 days,” Atwal said.

Atwal said the first and so far only case of the P1 variant which was reported in Manitoba on Thursday arrived in the province through nonessential travel.

The province said there were 1,954 laboratory tests completed on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases since early February 2020 to 615,906.

Atwal said while fewer people are going to hospital, more of them need to be admitted into intensive care.

There were 130 COVID-19 patients in hospital as of Friday, including 60 people with active cases and 70 people who are no longer infectious. Of the 34 COVID-19 patients in ICU, there were 17 people with active cases and 17 people who are no longer infectious but still need critical care. 

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