Manitoba health officials have reported two more deaths, 230 new cases of COVID-19 as well as identifying 212 more cases connected to variants of concern.
The deaths being reported on Thursday were a woman in her 50s and a man in his 60s, both from the Northern health region.
Of the 230 new cases, 177 were found in Winnipeg, 23 in Prairie Mountain, 14 in the South, 11 in the North and five in the Interlake.
The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 7.2% provincially, down 0.3% from Wednesday, and 8.3% in Winnipeg, down 0.1%.
Manitoba’s total lab-confirmed COVID-19 caseload from the beginning of the pandemic now stands at 38,439, which includes 2,263 active cases, 35,203 recoveries and 973 deaths.
Currently, there are 142 patients with COVID-19 in hospitals, including 41 in ICU. Both figures include active cases and those no longer infectious, but who still require care.
As of Thursday morning, Manitoba had 1,900 cases connected to variants of concern which grew from 1,688 the day before. Of those 754 are considered active. The B.1.1.7 variant accounts for 63.2% of the cases, while 1.1% are the B.1.351 variant, 0.5% is the P.1 variant and 35.3% of the cases are as yet unspecified.
There were 2,941 lab tests completed on Wednesday bringing the total since early February 2020 to 656,519.
As Manitoba moves through its third wave, testing numbers have begun to increase steadily. Public health officials remind Manitobans that in most cases, they should only seek testing at a provincial test site if they are symptomatic, have been identified as a close contact or have been directed to get tested by public health. This will help ensure that those who need to be tested can continue to access testing as easily as possible.
The testing site at 3975 Portage Ave. in Winnipeg will close May 1 as the site needs the space for regular operations. The final day for testing will be April 30. For alternative testing locations and to book an appointment online visit www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/testing/locations.html.
Manitobans have several options available to access testing, including drive-thru, walk-in, or by booking an appointment by calling (toll-free) 1-855-268-4318 or online at select sites through https://patient.petalmd.com/login?groupId=5930&locale=en.
New high-risk areas added to vaccine eligibility
The province added four communities across the province to their list of high-risk areas eligible for vaccines.
Inkster West and Fort Garry South in Winnipeg were added on Thursday, along with Brandon East End in Prairie Mountain and Powerview-Pine Falls in Interlake-Eastern.
Manitoba now has 11 high-risk areas eligible for vaccinations, which include anyone living in those areas who is 18 and older, or those who work specific, public-facing front-line jobs.
The province has also opened up vaccine eligibility to anyone living and working in Northern Health that is 18 and older.
Meanwhile, the province plunged another 10,116 doses of vaccine into the arms of Manitobans on Wednesday.
The number of citizens with at least one shot of a vaccine is now at 383,901, or 35.6% of the adult population in the province.