13 of new northern COVID-19 cases announced Dec. 2 in Island Lake health district

Manitoba announced another high daily death toll from COVID-19 with 14 deaths reported Dec. 2. Thirty deaths have been reported already in December by the month’s second day and the total number of deaths in Manitoba due to the virus since the pandemic began is 342.

Wednesday also saw a new case count below 300 for the second straight day, with 277 new positive tests across the province. The province listed 28 of them as coming from the Northern Regional Health Authority (NRHA) but the total for the region rose by only 25, from 1,033 on Dec. 1 to 1,058 today, according to statistics posted online.

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Although the number of new cases has dropped by as much as 200 or more from the highest number the province has seen, Dr. Brent Roussin said the reduction isn’t yet sufficient to begin thinking about reducing public health restrictions.

“They’re stabilizing at a number we still can’t sustain,” he said, later noting that although a vaccine may be available soon, it will be in short supply for the first few months.

Roussin also said that the goal of public health orders is not to reduce COVID transmission to zero but to get it to a level where the health care system isn’t overwhelmed and unrelated activities such as elective and non-urgent surgeries and diagnostic imaging can resume.

“These restrictions will not get us down to zero cases,” he said. ‘We would need much, much more stringent restrictions [to do that] and really they would have to be in play for months and months and months."

Thirteen of the new northern cases were from the Island Lake health district, which now has 75 active cases. There were also four new cases in the Shamattawa/York Factory/Tataskweyak/Split Lake health district, which now has 65 active cases. Other health districts with increases reported Wednesday were Grand Rapids/Mosakahiken/Moose Lake/Easterville/Chemawawin, with three new positive tests, Thompson/Mystery Lake with two new cases and Flin Flon/Snow Lake/Cranberry/Sherridon with one new positive test.

There were 351 Manitobans in hospital due to COVID-19 Dec. 2, including 51 in intensive care, 44 of whom were on ventilators. This included 20 northern residents in hospital, four of them in intensive care. There are 74 northerners who don’t require hospitalization but need assistance to self-isolate staying in nine alternative isolation accommodation sites throughout the NRHA as well as 21 others who have been transported to Winnipeg to self-isolate.

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