Who is contracting COVID-19 in Manitoba and how does it compare to the rest of Canada?

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As COVID-19 cases start to spike in many provinces amid the fourth wave, provincial data shows the majority of new cases in Manitoba come from unvaccinated individuals.

In Manitoba, there were 217 new cases from Monday-Friday; 144 or 66.3 per cent of them were not fully vaccinated.

Data released by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) this week shows the rate of new cases in the country is 12 times higher among the unvaccinated than fully vaccinated individuals.

As of Friday, 82.5 per cent of eligible Manitobans have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 77.3 percent have both doses.

According to PHAC, more than 84 per cent of eligible Canadians had received at least one dose as of Aug. 28, and 77 per cent were fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 CASES BY AGE

In the province, the highest number of total cases is in the 20-29 age range, with around 11,800 Manitobans in the age bracket contracting COVID-19.

The next highest age range is 30-39, with around 9,600 people in the range testing positive. The 10-19 and 40-49 age ranges fall shortly behind with around 8,000 cases each.

According to national data released Sept. 3, Canadians less than 19 years old make up 18.6 per cent of the cases in the country. That number is significantly less than in Manitoba, where people under 19 account for a quarter of the cases.

The 20-29 age range in Manitoba is similar to the national rate, with cases in the bracket making up 20 per cent of the total case count.

Manitoba then trails the national data in each of the older age ranges by a few percentage points.

National numbers, however, are trending toward younger ages.

On the eve of the Labour Day weekend, chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam took aim at young adults, describing an "urgent need" for more people between the ages of 18 and 39 to get vaccinated in order to prevent a rapid worsening of Canada's COVID-19 situation.

"The moment you get people back indoors … we will see accelerations," she said at a Friday news conference.

In addition, Tam said, those younger adults "continue to have the highest rates of infection," in part because they are more likely to have close contact with people outside their household for work-related or recreational reasons.

VARIANTS OF CONCERN

Variants of concern continue to be the major driver of COVID-19 cases in Manitoba.

As of Friday, variants of concern now account for 17,530 cases in the province.

While half of the cases (50.08 per cent) remain unspecified, the Alpha variant (B.1.1.7) makes up 41.29 per cent of the variant of concern cases and the Delta variant makes up 6.56 percent.

Of Manitoba's 17,530 total variants of concern cases, 245 are considered active and 17,091 have recovered. There have been 194 deaths linked to variants of concern.

  Total Variant of Concern cases in Manitoba
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According to the Government of Canada, the Delta variant made up around 75 per cent of new cases in the country for the second week of August. The number is based on whole genome sequencing from surveillance testing in all provinces and territories and takes several weeks to complete. The government said it shows trends rather than precise measurements.

MODELLING NUMBERS

Overall, Manitoba's case counts remain lower than many provinces like Ontario and Alberta, which have seen a sharp increase lately.

  COVID-19 cases in Manitoba
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Provincial modelling, however, shows a fourth wave is expected to occur due to the faster spread of the Delta variant and not enough people being fully immunized.

"We can see what's happening in other jurisdictions. We know that fourth wave is heading in our direction," said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba's chief public health officer, during a news conference explaining the modelling when it came out in late August.

In the extreme version of the modelling, Manitoba ICUs are overwhelmed within two months.

In the best-case scenario, the COVID-19 case numbers remain the same, a prediction not in line with other provinces' current situation.

PHAC modelling shows daily COVID-19 caseloads in Canada could reach unprecedented highs later this month if current levels of virus transmission are not reduced.

PHAC reports that Canada is experiencing "ongoing rapid acceleration" of COVID-19 activity, including in cases causing severe illness.

The number of new hospitalizations related to COVID-19 in Canada has more than doubled since the previous modelling was released on July 30 and is now above 1,200 per day.

The modelling data suggests that if public health measures are able to reduce the level of transmission across the country by 25 per cent, the fourth wave of the pandemic could soon plateau at a lower daily infection rate than the peaks of the second and third waves.

-With files from CTV's Danton Unger and Ryan Flanagan