North nears 600 total cases of COVID-19 since pandemic began with announcement of 40 new cases

Northern Manitoba reported one of its highest new daily cases counts of the whole COVID-19 pandemic Nov. 18, with 40 new cases announced, 32 of which were from tests performed yesterday.

The region now has 364 active cases and has had 597 COVID-19 cases overall since the pandemic began. Twenty-four of yesterday’s new northern cases were in The Pas/Opaskwayak Cree Nation/Kelsey health district and nine were in the Grand Rapids/Mosakahiken/Moose Lake/Easterville/Chemawawin health district. There were also three new cases in the Island Lake health district and one new case each in three other districts.

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Across the province, 400 new COVID-19 cases were announced by the government on Wednesday, including 293 in Winnipeg and 93 in the southern health region and there were 11 more deaths announced, bringing the total so far during the pandemic to 190. There are 249 Manitobans in hospital due to the virus, 40 of them in intensive care. Manitoba chief nursing officer Lanette Siragusa said 38 of 77 intensive care unit patients on ventilators are COVID positive.

Ten northern residents are in hospital, including one in intensive care. There are also 26 people in the region self-isolating in alternative isolation accommodations, Siragusa said. Since Oct. 26, 771 elective and non-urgent surgeries have been cancelled as a result of the pandemic and staff who normally work in inpatient surgical settings are being redeployed to work in medicine units.

With the new cases announced on Wednesday, Manitoba has now seen more than 12,000 total cases since the pandemic began and the current test positivity rate is 14.2 per cent.

The province also announced a new fine of $298 for not wearing a mask in public places as required under current public health orders.

Chief provincial public health office Dr. Brent Roussin once again emphasized that people throughout the province should not be going into stores that are open without good reason.

“People should only be leaving their house for essential reasons,” he said. “We have frontline health care workers at risk with increased positivity. We expect very tight adherence to these public health orders.”

Roussin also said that community transmission is driving the pandemic, with more than 500 cases in the last week that can’t be linked to any outbreaks or known exposures to the virus.

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