One death, 53 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba as province loosens public health orders

A woman in her 90s from Winnipeg is Manitoba’s latest COVID-19 death as the province saw 53 new cases as of Friday morning

Public health officials said the woman’s death was linked to the outbreak at Golden Links Lodge.

Read more: Manitoba to further loosen coronavirus rules starting Friday

The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is three per cent across the province, and 2.4 per cent in Winnipeg.

Of the 53 cases, 33 are in the Northern health region, 14 in the Winnipeg region, four in the Southern health region, two in Interlake-Eastern, and one in Prairie Mountain.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Manitoba detects first case of South African variant' Coronavirus: Manitoba detects first case of South African variant

Coronavirus: Manitoba detects first case of South African variant

Health officials also announced that one confirmed Winnipeg case is a result of the B.1.351 COVID-19 variant, first identified in South Africa.

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The latest update comes as new loosened public health orders go into effect across the province Friday.

Read more: All adult Manitobans could get first COVID-19 shot by May 18

Starting Friday at 12:01 a.m., maximum capacity at stores and restaurants increases to 50 per cent from 25, though restaurants will still have to ensure that only members of the same household sit together.

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Indoor religious services are able to run at 25 per cent capacity or 100 people — whichever is lower — up from 10 per cent. Licensed establishments can also reopen their video lottery terminals.

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People who want to hold gatherings in their homes now have more options.

Under previous orders, people were allowed to designate up to two people from different households as visitors. People can now choose between that option or designating one entire household to visit, in essence, creating two-home bubbles.

Outdoors, a limit on public gatherings jumps to 10 people from five.

Click to play video 'Answering your COVID-19 questions, March 4' Answering your COVID-19 questions, March 4

Answering your COVID-19 questions, March 4

The looser rules also allow fitness facilities to restart group classes, though masks will be required.

Casinos, bingo halls, theatres and concert venues must remain closed.

Read more: Two deaths, 51 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba Thursday

The changes will be in place until March 25.

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Health officials reported 51 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths Thursday.

— with files from The Canadian Press

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

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