The deaths of five more Manitobans have been linked to COVID-19, as provincial health officials identified 118 new cases.
The deaths reported on Monday were all from the Winnipeg region. The youngest of these deaths was a woman in her 30s from Winnipeg.
The deaths on Monday also included a woman in her 60s and a woman in her 90s, as well as two women in their 90s whose deaths have been linked to the outbreaks at River Ridge II Retirement Residence and Bethania Mennonite Personal Care Home.
This brings the total number of deaths related to COVID-19 in Manitoba to 688.
COVID-19 CASES DROPPING IN MANITOBA
Along with a provincial five-day test positivity rate of 10.7 per cent, the province reported 118 new cases.
The majority of the cases reported on Monday were in the Winnipeg region, which had 80 new cases, and a test positivity rate of 11.8 per cent.
Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba's chief public health officer, said public health is seeing a disproportionate effect in Winnipeg among lower-income areas.
According to provincial data, the Downtown area of the city has the highest number of active cases, with more than 530 as of Monday. He said areas such as Point Douglas and Seven Oaks have also been hit hard.
"We're still looking at approaches there, we have some additional testing in the area and we are still looking at more approaches," he said.
The other cases reported on Monday include:
- seven cases in the Interlake-Eastern health region;
- five cases in the Northern health region;
- seven cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region; and
- 19 cases in the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region.
Of Manitoba's 25,244 total cases of COVID-19, there have been 20,133 people listed as recovered. The province said there are currently 4,423 active cases of the virus.
"We're starting to see our case numbers coming down," said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba's chief public health officer.
"While our restrictions are due for review, we need to ensure that this is not the time that we relax our efforts against this virus."
Roussin said the province's test positivity rate and number of hospitalizations are still too high, and on top of that he said it is still too early to tell what the impact of Christmas and New Year's gatherings have had on Manitoba's COVID-19 cases.
Manitoba's current round of health orders is set to expire on January 8.
The province said 1,275 tests were completed on Sunday, which brings the total number of tests done since early February to 427,476.
COVID-19 HOSPITALIZATIONS APPEAR TO BE STABILIZING, STILL TOO HIGH
Lanette Siragusa, the chief nursing officer with Shared Health, said as of Monday there were 340 people in hospital with COVID-19. Of these people, 245 have active COVID-19, while 95 people in hospital with COVID-19 are no longer infectious, but still need care.
There are 35 people in intensive care units with active COVID-19 cases, as well as six people in ICU who are no longer infectious but still need critical care.
"The hospitalization numbers involving patients with COVID appear to be stabilizing now with the decrease in active cases, but they still are higher than what we would normally be without COVID," Siragusa said.
"It continues to place a strain on our staffing situation and our health-care system as a whole."
She said this particularly strains the critical care areas, which rely on surgical nurses to help account for the additional capacity.
"As we see the numbers come down, we are hopeful that the critical care admissions and medical admissions in hospital will also start decreasing."
She said when this happens, the province will look at ramping up elective and non-urgent surgeries once again.
COVID-19 TEST POSITIVITY RATE HIGHER AMONG FIRST NATIONS
Manitoba's First Nation Pandemic Response Coordination Team (PRCT) reported 169 First Nations people living in the province have tested positive for COVID-19 since Dec. 31, 2020.
During this time, there have been seven deaths related to COVID-19 among First Nations people in the province.
The PRCT said First Nation people account for 29 per cent of Manitoba's total COVID-19 hospitalizations, and 15 per cent of Manitoba's total COVID-19 deaths.
There are currently 524 active COVID-19 cases among First Nations people in the province. The current five-day test positivity rate for First Nations people living in Manitoba is 15 per cent.