Manitoba announced Feb. 2 that some public health restrictions will be relaxed on Feb. 8 because data indicates that the omicron wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has peaked.
Although capacity limits will still apply in many public places, the maximum of 250 will no longer be in place, meaning that Winnipeg Jets games, for example, could have about 7,500 spectators in the stands.
The number of people allowed at private indoor and outdoor gatherings will go from 10 and 20 to 25 and 50 if everyone attending over the age of 12 is vaccinated. For gatherings with unvaccinated people in attendance, the maximums will be 10 and 20 attendees in addition to household members.
Restrictions on retail capacity in the southern health region will be removed, as will be the requirement for workplaces throughout the province to report cases among their employees to public health.
Sports tournaments will also be allowed once more and alcohol sales at licensed premises will be permitted until midnight instead of stopping at 10 p.m.
“It’s very likely we’ve hit a peak in Manitoba for case generation,” said chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin at a Feb. 2 press conference.
The new orders will be in effect for two weeks but Premier Heather Stefanson said she hopes the province will be in a position to remove more restrictions in the coming weeks and that by spring there will no longer be any public health restrictions.
Fourteen deaths of Manitobans in the past two days were announced on Wednesday, including three northern residents – men in their 50s and 60s and a woman in her 80s. There have now been 1,576 COVID-linked deaths since the pandemic began, including 73 northern residents.
526 confirmed cases were announced for Manitoba, which no longer gives PCR tests to most people showing symptoms of COVID infection. There are 744 patients with COVID in hospital, including 54 in intensive care. 60 of those in hospital and 10 of those in intensive care are from the north.
Roussin said about 60 per cent of people in hospital with COVID are there because of other health issues but that in intensive care, about two-thirds of admissions with COVID are there due to their infections.
The provincial five-day test positivity rate is 29.2 per cent and there were 81 new confirmed cases in the north, where 10 of 15 health districts have 100 or more known active cases of COVID, though the actual number of infected people is much higher. There were 246 confirmed infections in the Thompson/Mystery Lake health district on Wednesday
A COVID-19 outbreak at Gillam Hospital was also declared over on Wednesday.