There are 81 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba on Friday and four more people have died after contracting the illness, the province says.
Manitoba’s five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate dropped slightly to 4.8 per cent, the government says in a news release. In Winnipeg, the rate rose slightly to four per cent.
Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin warned people to keep following public health guidance, particularly after a case of the coronavirus variant first detected in the U.K. was announced in Manitoba earlier this week.
“If we lose track of the fundamentals like we did in October, one month from now we could be seeing November and December numbers. And if you add the variant into that, the numbers could look even worse,” Roussin said at a news conference.
The largest proportion of new cases — 28, or just over one-third — is in the Southern Health region, the release says. There are 25 new cases in the Northern Health Region and 20 in the Winnipeg health region.
The remaining new cases are in the Interlake-Eastern health region (five) and the Prairie Mountain Health region (three), the release says.
The deaths of four men from the Winnipeg health region were announced on Friday. Two were in their 70s, one in his 80s and one in his 90s. The latter was linked to the outbreak at Concordia Place personal care home, the release says.
Those deaths bring Manitoba’s total to 866.
There are now 240 COVID-19 patients in hospital in Manitoba, the release says, down by four from Thursday, with 29 of those people in intensive care, down by three.
Outbreaks have been declared in Winnipeg at Seven Oaks General Hospital’s 3U 4-7 unit and the Riverview Health Centre, the release says.
Previously declared outbreaks are now over at four care homes in Winnipeg: the Poseidon Long Term Care Home, the Convalescent Home of Winnipeg, the Golden Door Geriatric Centre and the Golden West Centennial Lodge, the release says.
There have now been 30,588 confirmed cases of COVID-19 detected in Manitoba, the release says, including 28,140 people now considered recovered. Another 1,582 cases are still considered active, though health officials have said that number is inflated by a data entry backlog.
There were 1,972 COVID-19 tests done in Manitoba on Thursday, which brings the total number of swabs completed in the province to 497,691 since last February.
The province reminded people that some testing locations will have reduced hours for Louis Riel Day on Monday. That information is available on the province’s website.
Because of that holiday, there will be no COVID-19 bulletin or news conference on Monday. Both will resume on Tuesday.
Friday was the first day of further relaxed pandemic restrictions in Manitoba, which allowed a broad range of businesses to reopen at reduced capacity.
That includes restaurants, gyms and personal services businesses such as tattoo parlours and nail salons to reopen at 25 per cent capacity. Restaurants and lounges are only permitted to serve people in household groups.
Museums, art galleries and libraries can also operate at 25 per cent capacity, while places of worship can hold services again but cannot exceed 10 per cent of their usual capacity or 50 people, whichever is lower.
The province has said it plans to reduce COVID-19 restrictions gradually, with incremental change every three weeks.