Manitoba recorded 62 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and two additional deaths.
The province’s death toll now sits at 942 after a woman in her 80s and a woman in her 90s, both from the Winnipeg health region, succumbed to the virus.
Of the new cases, 33 were recorded in the Winnipeg health region, 23 in the Northern region, four in Prairie Mountain and one each in Southern Health and the Interlake-Eastern health regions.
There are presently 1,255 active cases in Manitoba. Sixty-six people are in hospital with active cases of the virus; 14 of those individuals are in intensive care.
The five-day test positivity rate now sits at 5.3 per cent provincially and 4.3 per cent in Winnipeg.
There are 32,352 people listed as recovered.
Provincial data shows 1,386 COVID-19 tests were completed on Monday, bringing the total number of lab tests since early February 2020 to 592,384.
Chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin noted that testing typically falls off on weekends, and encouraged people to get tested if they’re experiencing any symptoms or are unsure.
“Our testing capacity is well above the demand that we’re seeing right now,” Roussin said.
“This is really the time to find cases early and get on that aggressive case and contact management so we can keep our numbers down as we’re in this race to get vaccines into people’s arms.”
The doctor added that same-day appointments are available in many cases and results can be revealed oftentimes within 24 hours.
The province added five more cases of variants of concern Tuesday. All are the B.1.1.7 variant first identified in the U.K. and all were detected in the Winnipeg health region.
That brings the total number of variant cases to 275, the vast majority of those being the B.1.1.7 variant.
“There’s nothing unique right now going on. We’re seeing household transmission (of the variants), which is a significant amount of the transmission we see,” Roussin said.
“We certainly see some within workplaces, and we see cases that we can’t link to anything, what we’d call community transmission.”
Variant cases remain “relatively low,” according to the doctor, however, given the spiking cases in neighbouring provinces, he says further reopening plans will be implemented cautiously.
“We are in a race against our third wave that is pending,” Roussin said.
“It’s happening right now in other jurisdictions, and we’re certainly not going to be avoiding that. There is a third wave coming our way, and all that will depend on is how many Manitobans we can get vaccinated prior to it arriving here.”
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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