12 new COVID-19 cases in Thompson/Mystery Lake Jan. 6; outbreak at Thompson hospital declared over

A COVID-19 outbreak on the second floor of Thompson General Hospital that began about a week before Christmas has now been declared over but the Thompson/Mystery Lake area had the most new cases of the virus of any northern health district Jan. 6.

There were 12 new cases of COVID-19 in the Thompson health district among the 31 announced in the Northern Regional Health Authority (NRHA) Jan. 6, increasing the total number of active cases in the district to 51.

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There were also five new cases announced in the Lynn Lake/Marcel Colomb/Leaf Rapids/South Indian Lake/Granveile health district. The Town of Lyn Lake said Jan. 5 that the first six cases of the virus in that community had been confirmed and that all the people who tested positive were self-isolating.

Other northern health districts reporting new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday included the Bay Line district and The Pas/Opaskwayak/Kelsey district with four cases each, the Cross Lake/Pimicikamak district with two and three other districts with one new case each.

A woman in her 40s from the Lynn Lake/Marcel Colomb/Leaf Rapids/South Indian Lake/Granveile health district is the north's latest death as a result of COVID-19, according to the province's online COVID-19 dashboard, one of 10 new deaths announced Jan. 6. In total, 705 Manitobans have died as a result of the virus. Despite the additional death of a northerner, the province’s online dashboard continues to list the number of deaths in the NRHA since the pandemic started as 21, perhaps due to a data correction removing a previously announced death from the region.

Across the province, 329 people are in hospital due to COVID-19, though 92 of them are no longer considered to have active infections. There are 37 people in intensive care due to the virus, five of whom are no longer in their infectious period. These numbers include 21 northern residents, all but two of whom have active COVID infections and five of whom are in intensive care.

Overall, 176 new cases of COVID-19 were announced in Manitoba on Wednesday, although nine previously announced cases were removed from the province’s totals, leaving the net increase for the day at 167 cases.

The provincial test positivity rate was 10.4 per cent as of Wednesday.

Acting deputy chief public health officer Dr. Jazz Atwal signalled at Wednesday’s COVID-19 press conference that Code Red public health restrictions may be extended when they expire Jan. 8, saying that now is not the time for Manitobans to let their guard down. He also noted that at least 60 cases of the virus with 400 total contacts have already been linked to people gathering over Christmas and New Year’s, though it is too early to determine the full effect of holiday gatherings.

Manitoba Health and Senior Care medical officer of health Dr. Joss Reimer, a member of the province’s COVID-19 vaccine implementation task force, said that the province plans to vaccinate all personal care home residents in the province within 28 days of starting the vaccinations on Jan. 11. St. Paul’s Residence in The Pas will be the first northern personal care home whose residents will receive the vaccine next week. She also said that a vaccination site in Thompson will open by Feb. 1 and that Moderna vaccine will be ready to be shipped for vaccination of vulnerable First Nations citizens as soon as details of how and where those vaccines will be administered are worked out between the province and First Nations leaders.

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