Man in 30s among 12 latest COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba, as case tally rises by 368

After two days that saw case increases below the 300 mark, Manitoba’s top doctor announced Thursday that 368 more people have contracted COVID-19.

While that’s nearly 100 more new cases than he announced on Wednesday, Dr. Brent Roussin said that kind of daily fluctuation in numbers is expected — but it’s clear more work is still needed to bring Manitoba’s case counts down.

“We know that [this] is putting too much strain on our capacity in the health-care system. The numbers are too high,” the chief provincial public health officer said at a news conference on Thursday.

The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 has now climbed to a record 357, Roussin said. Fifty-two of those people are in intensive care, matching Manitoba’s high for the number of coronavirus patients in critical care in a single day.

“Now’s the time we need to just stay home and focus on reducing our amount of contacts, and we’ll start to see these numbers come down. The only way to achieve this is if we work together and all do our part.”

Twelve more people in Manitoba have now died from the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, Roussin said. The latest fatalities announced Thursday include a man in his 30s from the Interlake-Eastern health region and six other people linked to outbreaks in personal care homes across the province.

Manitoba again reached a new record for people in hospital with COVID-19 in a single day on Thursday, and met its previous high for the number in intensive care. (Bryce Hoye/CBC)

The death of a Winnipeg woman in her 60s announced previously has since been removed from Manitoba’s total because it was the result of a data entry error, Roussin said. That woman has the illness, but is now recovering, he said.

The update marks the second time in as many weeks the province has said it announced a COVID-19 death in error.

Roussin said that’s because of how quickly public health teams are working to get the province’s data updated. But because there are processes in place to reduce and correct errors, he said he still has confidence in the data he’s getting.

“Right from the beginning of this, we wanted to keep Manitobans up to date, to try to provide these numbers [in] as real time as we can,” he said. 

“We’re doing this, day in and day out, seven days a week, so there’s going to be some errors like this. But what’s reassuring is we have a system in place to discover them and then correct them.”

One previously announced COVID-19 case was also removed from the province’s total caseload on Thursday because of a data correction, Roussin said, which brings the total number of cases identified in Manitoba to 17,750.

Manitoba’s test positivity rate has been going down in recent days, but the province’s top doctor says more work is still needed to continue to bring that number down. (Bryce Hoye/CBC)

Manitoba’s five-day test positivity rate — a rolling average of the COVID-19 tests that come back positive — is down slightly to 13.1 per cent on Thursday, Roussin said. In Winnipeg, the rate is now 14.9 per cent.

An outbreak has been declared at the River Park Gardens Personal Care Home in Winnipeg, while outbreaks previously declared at homeless shelter Oscar’s Place in The Pas and in the 5 North and 5 South units in Winnipeg’s Victoria General Hospital are over.

More care home deaths

The latest deaths announced in Manitoba, which bring the province’s total coronavirus-linked fatalities to 353, include two linked to an outbreak at Menno Home in Grunthal: a man in his 50s and a woman in her 90s. 

They also include a man in his 70s connected to Golden Links Lodge in Winnipeg, a woman in her 70s linked to Fernwood Place in Steinbach, a woman in her 90s linked to the Maples Long Term Care Home in Winnipeg and a man in his 90s at Golden Links Lodge in Winnipeg.

The remaining deaths announced Thursday are a man in his 50s from the Northern Health region, a woman in her 70s and a man in his 90s from the Southern Health region and two women (in their 80s and 90s) from the Winnipeg health region.

Another death linked to Winnipeg’s Maples Long Term Care Home, shown here in a Nov. 7 file photo, was reported on Thursday. The care home is the site of one of Manitoba’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreaks. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

More than half the new cases announced Thursday (211) are in the Winnipeg health region, while 57 are in the Southern Health region, Roussin said. The remaining new cases are spread out across the Northern Health region (48), the Prairie Mountain Health region (31) and the Interlake-Eastern health region (21).

There are now 8,268 people are listed as recovered in Manitoba, while 9,129 cases are still considered active — though Roussin has previously said that number is inflated because of a data entry backlog.

Sites where there were possible COVID-19 exposures are listed on the province’s website by region.

There were 2,913 more COVID-19 tests done in Manitoba on Wednesday, bringing the total number of tests completed in the province since early February to 362,973.

WATCH | Full news conference on COVID-19 | Dec. 3, 2020:

Provincial officials give update on COVID-19 outbreak: Thursday, December 3, 2020. 39:40

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