The province has announced seven new deaths and 145 new cases of COVID-19 since Wednesday, including 54 on Friday.
Front of mind for Dr. Jazz Atwal, deputy chief provincial public health officer, was the continued spread of the Delta variant (B.1.617.2), which the World Health Organization says it is the most transmissible of the variants of concern.
“We do know the Delta cases have been increasing in number and that is not unexpected,” he said. “There are things we can do to protect ourselves and others.”
As of Wednesday there had been 217 cases of the variant identified in Manitoba since late April and in every regional health authority in the province — 40% have been found in Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, 29% in Southern Regional Health Authority and 24% in Northern Regional Health Authority. Fourteen of the cases have been linked to travel and 131 have been close contacts of a known case.
Atwal noted they are also seeing the effectiveness of full vaccinations in the health care system. Of the new variant cases, 86.2% had not been vaccinated or only had a single dose prior to infection due to a number of reasons. Meanwhile, studies are showing the effectiveness of two doses keeping people with the Delta variant out of acute care.
He said, data coming from other jurrisidctions show two doses of a vaccine has limited impact on case generation and hospitalization and severe outcomes. Two doses are 90% effective against the Delta variant. While in Manitoba, from June 21-27, there were 60 hospitalizations, 80% didn’t have a a single dose of vaccine and they have yet to have anyone with two doses and two week past inoculation admitted to the hospital. In ICUs, 85% had not received any vaccines.
Of the seven deaths, three of them would have been reported on Thursday but with no update on Canada Day, they were included in Friday’s update, this is the same case for 91 of the new cases.
The deaths include: a woman in her 50s and a man in his 60s from Winnipeg linked to the B.1.1.7 or alpha variant of concern and a Winnipeg woman in 70s linked to an unspecified variant; a woman in her 60s and man in his 60s from Southern Health also linked to the alpha variant; and a woman in her 40s from Winnipeg and man in his 70s from Southern.
This brings the total number of deaths due to COVID in Manitoba to 1,147.
The five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate continues to fall to 5.4% provincially to 4.8% in Winnipeg.
Of the 54 new cases reported on Friday, 23 were in Winnipeg, 11 in Souther, nine in Interlake-Easter, six in Prairie Mountain and five are in the North.