70% of COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba happened this month, top doctor says as he announces 383 new cases

Roughly 70 per cent of Manitoba’s total COVID-19 deaths happened this month, the province’s chief public health officer said on Thursday as he announced 10 more people had lost their lives to the illness.

“These deaths are much more than numbers. These are loved ones who are sorely missed right now,” Dr. Brent Roussin said at a news conference.

“We can’t continue with these daily case counts. We can’t continue to list off this many Manitobans lost daily.”

Since the start of November, 185 people in Manitoba have died of COVID-19, Roussin said, compared to 60 in the entire month of October.

The latest deaths bring the total coronavirus-linked fatalities in Manitoba to 266.

The deaths announced Thursday include six linked to known outbreaks of COVID-19 across the province, Roussin said.

Those fatalities were a man in his 50s at the Bethesda Regional Health Centre in Steinbach, a man in his 80s and a woman in her 90s at the Maples Long Term Care Home, a woman in her 80s and a man in his 90s from Menno Home in Grunthal, and a man in his 90s linked to Brightwater Senior Living of Tuxedo.

WATCH | Dr. Brent Roussin on recent COVID-19 deaths:

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, says COVID-19 deaths in the province have skyrocketed since last month. 0:42

A woman in her 70s from the Interlake-Eastern health region and three more people from the Winnipeg health region — a man in his 70s and two men in their 90s — have also died.

There is a new COVID-19 outbreak in the N3 West unit at Winnipeg’s Concordia Hospital. The site has been moved to the critical red level of the province’s pandemic response system.

Community spread growing

The province also announced 383 new cases of COVID-19 and a record-high test positivity rate of 14.8 per cent on Thursday. That rate is currently the same in the Winnipeg area as it is in the province at large.

Roughly 50 per cent of Manitoba’s new cases of COVID-19 are considered community spread, Roussin said, which means contact tracers haven’t been able to pinpoint how half the people recently infected in Manitoba got sick.

Meanwhile, there are a record 307 people with the illness in hospitals, including 46 in intensive care, he said.

Manitoba’s coronavirus-linked hospitalizations have more than doubled in the last three weeks, while the number in intensive care has nearly tripled in the same period of time. (Bryce Hoye/CBC)

The update comes as the number of people hospitalized with the illness continues to climb in Manitoba.

Coronavirus-linked hospitalizations have more than doubled in the province in the last three weeks, while the number in intensive care has nearly tripled in the same period of time.

WATCH | Roussin on whether many COVID-19 cases are going undetected:

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, says it doesn’t appear there are many COVID-19 cases that aren’t being picked up by testing because there haven’t been unexpected jumps in hospitalizations in the province. 1:05

Thursday’s new cases bring the total number identified in the province to 15,288, Roussin said. That number includes 6,177 people who have recovered from the illness, and another 8,845 whose cases are still considered active — though Roussin has previously said that number is skewed because of a data entry backlog.

Just over half the new cases announced on Thursday are in Winnipeg health region, while a little under one-third are in the Southern Health region. The remaining cases are spread relatively evenly among the Northern, Interlake-Eastern and Prairie Mountain health regions.

Three previously announced cases were removed from Manitoba’s case totals on Thursday, Roussin said: two because of a data correction and one later determined to be from outside Manitoba.

Possible COVID-19 exposure sites are listed by region on the province’s website.

There were 1,509 COVID-19 tests done in Manitoba on Wednesday, the lowest number reported in a day in the province since early August. Those tests brought the total done in Manitoba since early February to 341,973.

WATCH | Full news conference on COVID-19 | Nov. 26, 2020:

Provincial officials give update on COVID-19 outbreak: Thursday, November 26, 2020. 39:40

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