Manitoba public health officials announced eight deaths from COVID-19 and 297 new cases of the illness on Thursday.
That’s the highest daily death total in the pandemic’s third wave and the most since Jan. 19, when there were 11.
The number of Manitobans who have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic is now 1,042, including 60 deaths related to coronavirus variants of concern. Due to a data correction, a death reported on Wednesday was removed from the province’s total.
The latest deaths include five people from the Winnipeg health region: three men in their 60s, including one linked to the B117 variant of concern, a woman in her 60s linked the B117 variant of concern and a woman in her 80s also linked to the same variant of concern, says a news release from the province.
Two deaths are people from the Prairie Mountain Health region: a woman in her 30s linked to B117 variant of concern and a man in his 60s linked to a variant of concern that has not yet been identified.
The other death is a man in his 80s from the Southern Health region.
“It is a high day, from what we’ve seen so far in the third wave,” Manitoba Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said at a news conference, where he also announced an extension of the public health orders for another two weeks.
“We need to bring down these numbers. This is a strain on the health-care system. And these are eight more Manitobans we’ve lost now.”
As he has done all week, Roussin once again urged people to get vaccinated “and stop these transmission chains.”
“We don’t want to see days like this again.”
The breakdown of the 297 newest cases includes 169 in the Winnipeg health region, 65 in the Southern Health region, 25 in the Northern health region and 19 in each of the Interlake–Eastern and Prairie Mountain health regions.
Another 151 cases involving more contagious coronavirus variants have also been identified, according to the province’s dashboard.
As well, an outbreak has been declared at the Tabor Home Personal Care Home in Morden, which has been moved to the red, or critical, level on the province’s pandemic response system.
The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 12.6 per cent provincially (down from 13.3 Wednesday) and 14 per cent in Winnipeg (down from 15).
The total number of COVID patients in hospital has increased by six since Wednesday, going up to 324, while the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units in the province dipped by one to 73.
That does not include 25 critically ill COVID-19 patients who are currently in hospitals in Ontario, following transfers from Manitoba. There have been 26 transfers in total since May 18, including one patient who was returned Wednesday from Owen Sound, a Shared Health spokesperson said Thursday.
That patient no longer requires critical care and has been placed in a medicine unit in Manitoba, the spokesperson said.
Including the 25 in Ontario, the total number of Manitobans in ICUs due to COVID-19 is 98, with more expected to come after a spike in cases earlier this month.