Younger Manitobans making up more COVID-19 cases

Younger Manitobans are making up a larger proportion of new COVID-19 cases, provincial data shows.

Manitobans under the age of 30 accounted for 55 per cent of all active COVID-19 cases on April 30th, according to figures provided by the province.

Twenty-to-29-year-olds were the age group with the highest percentage cases, according to the same data set, making up 20 per cent of all active cases.

For Genevieve Green, a mother of six living in Winnipeg, the trend isn’t just a statistic, but a grim reality.

“It just happened so fast,” said Green, explaining how one of her children contracted COVID-19, “All of sudden one gets sick, then the next, then the next.”

Green’s six children are aged 18 to 32 and she says four of them are currently in hospital due to COVID-19, two requiring a breathing tube.

“I never thought in my life that, being so young,” said Green, “How they can contract this virus so fast.”

COVID-19 hospitalizations in the province still skew towards older segments of the population, with Manitobans over the age of fifty making up the majority of current hospitalizations.

Younger Manitobans are, however, now making up a larger percentage of hospitalizations than before.

At the end of March, Manitobans under the age of 50 accounted for 17.8 per cent of hospitalizations. As of Monday, that figure is now at 33 per cent.

Kerri Mackay, 29, is calling for younger Manitobans to be made eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.

While she is getting vaccinated Tuesday, thanks to becoming eligible as an at-home disability support worker, she’s still frustrated others her age can’t get a dose.

“I have friends who are still going to school, working in retail, exposed to the public every day and have been on the frontlines of keeping this province going,” said Mackay, “A lot of people in our generation are the ones who have kept food stocked on shelves,” she said.

Mackay also lives with severe asthma and is concerned for other, younger Manitobans who may be living with a chronic illness but still aren’t eligible to be vaccinated.

“That’s been a big concern to me throughout the pandemic,” she said.

Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin commented Monday that the major impediment to lowering the vaccine age eligibility is supply.

“We just don’t have the ability right now to open it up to everyone over the age of 18,” said Roussin.

Roussin did note, however, that younger people are becoming a higher-risk group for the virus.

“Those younger cohorts are the ones that are most active, working more frequently … in higher-risk type settings,” he said.