There are 198 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba on Thursday and five more people have died from the illness, the province says in a news release.
More than half of the new cases — 105 — are in the Northern Health Region, where several small communities have been grappling with outbreaks in recent days. Since Jan. 11, there have been 754 confirmed cases in the region.
Some of Manitoba’s strict pandemic restrictions will loosen slightly starting Saturday, Premier Brian Pallister and Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer, said at a news conference.
The new rules will include an allowance for most Manitobans to have two designated people over for a visit, but that won’t apply to the hard-hit north.
A woman from the Northern Health Region and a man from the Southern Health region, both in their 60s, have died after contracting COVID-19, the release says.
The latest deaths in the province also include three linked to outbreaks across Manitoba. Two men in their 80s — connected to Winnipeg’s Poseidon Care Centre and the McCreary/Alonsa Health Centre — and a woman in her 90s linked to Winkler’s Salem Home have died.
Those deaths bring Manitoba’s total to 793, the release says.
The five-day test positivity rate has dropped again in Winnipeg and the province at large. Manitoba’s rate is now 9.2 per cent — the lowest since Nov. 8, when the same rate was reported — the release says. Winnipeg’s rate is down to 6.6 per cent, the lowest it’s been since October.
The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 is also down slightly. There are now 268 people in hospital, down from 273 on Wednesday. Thirty-four of those people are in intensive care, the release says, which is down from 36 on Wednesday.
The remaining new cases on Thursday are split between the Winnipeg health region (54), the Prairie Mountain Health region (17), the Southern Health region (13) and the Interlake-Eastern health region (nine), the release says.
Two previously announced cases were removed from Manitoba’s total on Thursday because of a data correction, the release says. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in the province to 28,089.
Of those, 24,091 have been deemed recovered, while 3,205 cases are still considered active, though health officials have said that number is inflated by a data entry backlog.There were 2,269 COVID-19 tests done in Manitoba on Wednesday, which brings the total number of swabs done in the province since February to 459,134.