Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba chief public health officer, speaks during the province's latest COVID-19 update at the Manitoba legislature in Winnipeg Saturday, March 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Manitoba's top doctor said the province is on an 'encouraging' trajectory as COVID-19 deaths continue to dip, but added Manitobans would have been in a better position had it not been for hundreds of people who gathered over the holidays.

On Monday, Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba's chief public health officer, reported three deaths, including a man in his 60s from the Northern Health Region, a man in his 80s from the Prairie Mountain Health Region whose death is linked to an outbreak at the McCreary/Alonsa Health Centre, and a woman in her 80s from Winnipeg whose death is linked to an outbreak at the Bethania Mennonite Personal Care Home.

These most recent deaths bring the total number of deaths related to COVID-19 in Manitoba to 741. This is the fourth day straight that Manitoba has seen the daily number of deaths related to COVID-19 dip into the single digits.

A BREAKDOWN OF COVID-19 CASES IN MANITOBA

The province also reported 133 new cases on Monday. Winnipeg saw the highest number of cases in Manitoba's health regions, with 47 cases identified as of Monday morning. The Winnipeg health region has a test five-day positivity rate of 8.8 per cent.

The remaining cases reported on Monday include:

  • 11 cases in the Interlake-Eastern health region;
  • 34 cases in the Northern health region;
  • 28 cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region; and
  • 13 cases in the Southern Health-Santé Sud health region.

These cases bring Manitoba's total number of cases to 26,450. The province's five-day test positivity rate remains at 10 per cent.

The province said as of Monday, 22,295 people have recovered from COVID-19, while 3,414 people have active cases.

MORE CASES LINKED TO HOLIDAY GATHERINGS IN MANITOBA

"Today's numbers are encouraging and we definitely want to see this trajectory continue," Roussin said, adding Manitoba was on a grim path late last year, with provincial modelling projecting up to 1,000 cases a day in early December.

He said the strict health orders, which have been in place since Nov. 12 and have now been extended until at least Jan. 22, brought the daily case numbers down.

"We could be even in a better place right now, but we did see a lot of the gathering over the holiday season."

The top doctor said there have been 538 confirmed cases identified on or after Dec. 25 that have been linked to holiday gatherings, leading to 2,879 close contacts.

"This is really why we needed to extend the restrictions we have in place, we have to still see what the impact of these holiday gatherings was," Roussin said.

YOUNGER POPULATION IDENTIFIED IN MANITOBA HOSPITALIZATIONS

Of the 316 total COVID-19 patients in hospital on Monday, 162 people have active cases while 154 patients remain in hospital though they are no longer infectious.

There were 105 patients, which includes both COVID-19 cases and non-COVID-related cases, in intensive care as of midnight on Sunday. Of these patients, 21 people have active cases of COVID-19, as well as 16 people with COVID-19 who are no longer infectious.

Lanette Siragusa, the chief nursing officer with Shared Health, said while hospitalizations related to COVID-19 are often among older adults and seniors, there is a portion of patients in hospital in a younger age bracket.

She said 35 COVID-19 patients in hospital are under the age of 40, which includes five patients who are under the age of 20.

"These numbers demonstrate the continual need for all of us to remain vigilant and do everything we can to be safe and mitigate the spread of this virus," Siragusa said.

The province said 1,566 tests were completed on Sunday bringing the total number of tests done since early February to 440,532.