The number of Manitobans with COVID-19 in hospital has gone down slightly while the percentage of eligible people who are fully vaccinated has risen slightly, to 79 per cent.
There were 711 people with COVID-19 in hospital in Manitoba on Jan. 27 down from Monday when there were 716. Fifty-one of those hospitalized are in intensive care.
There are 55 northern residents in hospital with the virus, down from 56 on Jan. 24, and four of them are in intensive care. An outbreak that affected six staff at Thompson General Hospital obstetrics and neonatal unit was declared over Jan. 26.
Chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said at a Jan. 26 press conference that hospitalizations and intensive care admission rates remain high but that they are stable.
582 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported in Manitoba Jan. 27, 81 of them in the north, but Roussin said Wednesday that these are significant underestimates because they only include those who received PCR lab tests or had rapid tests administered by a medical professional.
1,538 Manitobans with COVID infections have died since the pandemic began in March 2020 and the current five-day test positivity rate in the province is 30.6 per cent, though it is significantly higher in the north, where it was 44.3 per cent on Jan. 25 after having risen every day for five days.
Ten of the 15 health districts in the north had 100 or more active cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, including Thompson/Mystery Lake, where there are 236 confirmed active cases.
Incomplete data makes it impossible to definitively say where Manitoba is in this wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Roussin said, noting that hospitalizations resulting form the omicron variant tend to be shorter on average than they were with delta and previous strains of the virus.
Manitoba is changing the way child care centres report on and manage COVID-19 infections. They are no longer required to send parents notices about individual cases of the virus and children and staff who may possibly have been exposed to an infected person in a child care centre can continue attending and working provided they do not have any cold or flu-like symptoms
39 per cent of eligible Manitobans have now received three doses of COVID-19 vaccine, while 40 per cent have received two. The uptick in the total percentage of people who have had two or three doses from 78 to 79 per cent appears to mostly be the result of people who have received one dose getting a second shot, as the percentage of eligible people with one dose of vaccine dropped from seven per cent to 6. Fifteen per cent of eligible people in the province are unvaccinated.
80 per cent of current COVID-19 cases affect people with either two or three doses of vaccine, while 73 per cent of those in hospital have had two or more doses. 42 per cent of intensive care patients with COVID-19 are unvaccinated, the same as the percentage who have received two doses. 72 per cent of recent deaths of COVID-infected patients are among those with two or three doses of vaccine.
Roussin said there continues to be significant benefits to being vaccinated against the virus and that oral antiviral treatments are now available to treat Manitobans. These drugs must be taken within five days of symptoms showing up to provide benefits.
“It’s not a substitute for vaccination,” he said.