Manitoba’s provincial government reported that there were only 10 new cases of COVID-19 in the province’s north on Wednesday, but the total number for the region posted online went up by 16.
According to the province’s COVID-19 dashboard, there have now been 4,775 total cases of the virus in the Northern Regional Health Authority since the pandemic began, up from 4,759 yesterday.
Online data also show that there were nine new cases of the virus in the cross Lake/Pimicikamak health district and five in the Island Lake health district since yesterday. Still, it is the lowest number of new cases per day in the region in the past two weeks.
For Manitoba as a whole, there were 45 new cases of COVID-19 announced Feb. 24 as well as one new death, bringing the total number of Manitobans who have died from the virus since the pandemic began to 887. The provincial five-day test positivity rate has dropped below five per cent to 4.6 per cent. Six previously announced cases of the virus have been removed from the provincial total due to data corrections.
There are 207 people in hospital as a result of the virus, 81 with active infections. Eleven of those with active infections are in intensive care, as are 18 who are no longer considered infectious. There are 25 people in hospital from the north, including 11 with active infections. Three of those who are still considered infectious are in intensive care, as are five who are no longer considered infectious.
Dr. Joss Reimer of Manitoba’s vaccine task force announced at a press conference on Wednesday that Manitobans over the age of 95 and First Nations people in the province over the age of 75 can now begin booking vaccination appointments by calling 1-844-MANVACC (626-8222).
Vaccination appointments are available in Thompson for people who meet eligibility criteria, said Reimer, and the province is working with remote communities and First Nations to determine when it make the most sense to bring people to Thompson to receive their vaccines.
Dr Marcia Anderson of the Manitoba First Nation Pandemic Response Co-ordination Team said the reason for the lower age threshold for First Nations people is because they have been experiencing more severe illness and fatalities due to COVID-19 at younger ages than the population at large. She also said that First Nations people are not being required to prove their First Nations identity at this time but that that will occur in the future to prevent people from fabricating First Nations ancestry to get vaccinated sooner.
“To often you see the ‘Pretendian’ phenomenon,” Anderson said.
About four per cent of Manitoba’s on-reserve First Nations population over the age of 18 have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose, while it is just under three per cent for those living off-reserve. Less than a tenth of one per cent of people on or off reserve have received their second doses, Anderson said, but that number will go up soon as eight communities received vaccines to provide second doses to eligible members last week and 13 more communities received shipments of additional vaccine as of Feb. 23.