Manitoba will remain at the red level on the pandemic response system until at least Jan. 22 due to evidence that holiday gatherings are leading to a spike in cases, chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said Jan. 8.
Minor modifications will be made to the public health orders to allow professional hockey teams and officials to train and play games and be exempted from self-isolation rules.
The provincial government said it will seek feedback from Manitobans on possible changes to public health orders beginning next week.
“While very difficult, these restrictions are necessary,” Roussin said.
Roussin said there have been 355 recent cases of COVID-19 related to holiday gatherings of as many as two dozen people, with those cases having nearly 1,900 close contacts. About 14 per cent of close cases contract COVID, data shows, according to Roussin.
“We have been worried about a spike following the holidays,” Roussin said. “Now we see that signal quite clear that a lot of gathering occurred. In the last number of days we’re getting more and more cases linked to holiday gatherings.”
Across the province, 222 new cases of COVID-19 were reported Jan. 8, though one previous case was removed t\due to a data correction, resulting in a net increase of 221 cases. Ninety-seven of these were in Winnipeg, while there were 69 new cases in the north, including 28 in the Island Lake area, 14 in the Thompson/Mystery Lake health district and eight in the health district that includes Lynn Lake, Leaf Rapids, South Indian Lake, Granville Lake and Marcel Colomb First Nation.
There are now 1,060 active COVID-19 cases in the Northern Regional Health Authority and 19 northerners in hospital due to the virus, two of whom are no longer considered infectious. Three of the northerners hospitalized are in intensive care.
For the province as a whole, there are 315 people hospitalized due to COVID-19, 98 of who are no longer infectious. Thirty-five of them are in intensive care, including four who are no longer considered infectious. Twenty-five of the 52 patients on ventilators in Manitoba hospitals have or have had COVID. Four are no longer infectious.
Nine more deaths due to the virus were announced in the province on Friday, including the 23rd death of a northern resident, a man in his 70s from the Grand Rapids/Moose Lake/Easterville/Chemawawin health district. There have now been 726 deaths due to COVID-19 in Manitoba.
The five-day test positivity rate went back above 10 per cent on Friday, to 10.1 per cent.