16 new northern COVID cases, seven more deaths in Manitoba announced Tuesday

Northern Manitoba is now at 559 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, 328 of them active, after 16 new cases in the region were announced Nov. 17. 

The net rise in cases is only 10 since yesterday with several cases having been removed from northern health districts.

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The Pas/Opaskwayak Cree Nation/Kelsey health district continues to lead the north in new cases of COVID-19, reporting five more on Tuesday. There were also three new cases in the Grand Rapids/Mosakahiken/Moose Lake/Easterville/Chemawawin health district, which now has 39 active cases and two new cases in the Thompson/Mystery Lake health district.

Ten northerners are hospitalized due to the virus, one in intensive care. Across the province, there are 240 people in hospital, 41 of them in intensive care. Chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said at a Nov. 17 press conference that those in hospital include about 30 people under the age of 50, nine of whom are in intensive care.

Seven additional deaths from COVID-19 were announced in Manitoba Tuesday, including one of a woman in her 30s. The total number of deaths in the province since the pandemic began is now 179 and there have been 11,608 cases of the virus in Manitoba with 270 new cases announced Nov. 17. The five-day test positivity rate in the province on Tuesday was 13.6 per cent.

Roussin took aim at stores advertising in-person Black Friday sales while the province is at the critical level of the Pandemic Response System.

“This is irresponsible,” he said. “You shouldn’t be going into a store to buy a game console. That’s not essential right now.”

The province is also considering what types of businesses are considered essential under the public health orders, Roussin said, as well as other potential responses such as extending the school Christmas break.

Also in the chief provincial public health officer’s crosshairs were online rumours that COVID-19 tests were being declared positive without being processed, a notion that he called “nonsense,” noting that the information is claimed to have come from nurses working in Cadham Provincial Laboratory.

We don’t have nurses working directly in these labs,” he said. “I can assure you there is no truth in this rumour. For whatever reason, there are individuals who want to convince people that COVID is not a true threat.”

He also said that walking into a hospital ER and videotaping a quiet waiting from for a few minutes isn’t evidence of anything.

“We have people dying every day,” Roussin said. “We have health care workers telling us that our hospitals are reaching their limits.”

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