Death of Manitoba man in his 40s linked to COVID-19 variant, 291 new cases reported

Manitoba health officials say the province’s latest COVID-19 victim — a man in his 40s from the Winnipeg area — had been stricken ill by the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom.

He is the 980th Manitoban with COVID-19 to die since March 2020, and his death is the 11th linked to a variant of concern.

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The number of B.1.1.7 variant cases in Manitoba has been steadily growing since the first infection was identified in the province in mid-February.

As of Tuesday Manitoba had reported 1,621 cases of the more contagious strain and four of the 12 COVID-19 deaths reported over the last week have been connected to the variant.

The number of variant cases reported in Manitoba grew to 2,705 Tuesday, with 361 new infections added to numbers provided on a provincial website tracking the strains, last updated Saturday.

About 60 per cent of the variants are the B.1.1.7 strain, while the data shows 20 others are the B.1.351 variant, first found in South Africa, and another 11 are the P.1 variant, first identified in Brazil. An additional 1,052 variant cases are as of yet unspecified, the province says.

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Meanwhile, health officials announced 291 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, bringing the province’s total caseload reported since March 2020 to 39,814 after one previous case was removed.

There are currently 2,692 active COVID-19 cases, including 993 that have been confirmed to be variants of concern.

The majority of the new cases reported Tuesday — 212 — come from the Winnipeg Health region. Another 31 were reported in the Prairie Mountain Health region, 29 were found in the Southern Health region, 12 come from the Interlake-Eastern Health region and seven were reported in the Northern Health region.

The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 8.5 per cent provincially and 9.2 per cent in Winnipeg.

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As of Tuesday morning, there were 182 people in hospital as a result of the novel coronavirus and 47 in intensive care.

Health officials say outbreaks have been declared at Holy Cross School and The King’s School in Winnipeg. Holy Cross has moved to remote learning until May 12 and King’s School will be under remote learning until May 16, the province says.

There are currently 15 schools across the province under remote learning due to outbreaks, according to the province’s website. Numbers on the site show 584 COVID-19 cases have been identified in schools over the last 14 days, including 482 infections in students and 102 cases in staff.

Over the past 14 days, 223 Manitoba schools have reported at least one case of COVID-19, the data shows.

A previously declared outbreak at The Swan Valley Lodge Personal Care Home in Swan River has ended, health officials say.

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Laboratory testing numbers show 2,717 tests were completed Monday, bringing the total number of lab tests completed since early February 2020 to 673,563.

Manitoba announced 251 new cases and one additional death linked to the B.1.1.7 variant of concern on Monday.

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.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, visit our coronavirus page.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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