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Manitoba extends public health orders as COVID-19 infections continue rising

Public health restrictions that took effect Dec. 21 will remain in place until Feb. 1, health minister announces.
manitoba health minister audrey gordon
Manitoba Health Minister Audrey Gordon

Manitoba’s health minister announced Jan. 7 that current public health orders are being extended until Feb. 1.

The orders include limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings in public and private places, as well as capacity limits at gyms, movie theatres and restaurants, but not in stores, except in the southern health region. The number of people allowed at some gatherings depends upon whether there any any unvaccinated people over age 12 present.

“While these orders remain in place, we continue to take steps to improve supply and access to testing and other important initiatives that support our pandemic response and protect our health system,” said Health Minister Audrey Gordon in a news release. “Nothing is off the table and we will act swiftly in the weeks ahead if further action is required to protect Manitobans.”

The announcement was made on a day that Manitoba breached a new milestone, reporting more than 3,000 new cases of COVID-19 one day after it had more than 2,000 for the first time. The actual numbers are much higher, however, with public health officials saying there are probably eight or 10 infections for every one included in the official numbers. There are also 6,000 tests from COVID-19 testing sites that have yet to be processed.

The number of Manitobans hospitalized due to COVID-19 shot up by more than 30 from yesterday to reach 297. Only one more intensive care admission was added to the 33 there were yesterday.

Northern Manitoba had 170 new positive tests, 165 of which were confirmed by lab testing yesterday, the highest one-day total since the pandemic began in March 2020. There are 16 Northern Manitobans in hospital including one in intensive care. The number of active COVID-19 cases in the Thompson/Mystery Lake health district jumped by about 40 per cent since yesterday, going from 56 to 78

Manitoba NDP health critic Uzoma Asagwara said the government not bringing in tougher measures shows that they aren’t serious when they say that schools are their priority.

“If we are going to make a safe return to school a priority, and protect the health care system, we need to take steps to reduce community spread. The premier owes Manitobans an explanation as to why she won't do that."

Only about one in six of the new infections reported today were in people who aren’t fully vaccinated. 84.5 per cent of all eligible Manitobans over the age of five have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine, including 48.9 per cent of children aged five to 11. About 78 per cent of eligible Manitobans have received two doses of COVID vaccine and 28.3 per cent have had three doses.