Manitoba announced the second-highest single-day total for positive COVID-19 tests since the pandemic began at an Aug. 6 briefing.
Thirty people tested positive for the novel coronavirus Aug. 5, including 18 in the Prairie Mountain health region, 11 in the southern health region and one in the Winnipeg region. The only day when there were more positive COVID-19 tests since the first positive test in the province was reported March 12 was April 1, when there were 33 new cases. It is also only the fifth time since the pandemic began that Manitoba announced more than 20 cases in a single day.
There are now 118 active cases, including 10 people who are in hospital, five of them in intensive care. There have been eight deaths related to COVID-19 in Manitoba during the pandemic and 348 people have recovered. The total number of positive tests in Manitoba to date is 474.
The cases in the Prairie Mountain health region were all related to a cluster of cases in Brandon, though chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin did not identify if this was related to the Maple Leaf Foods plant in Brandon, where at least four workers have tested positive for COIVID-19 so far, according to the union that represents them. The Brandon cluster now includes a total of 28 COVID-19 cases and started with a travel-related case.
“To date we haven’t seen evidence of transmission within any facility,” said Roussin, when asked if the virus was spreading in a workplace.
Seven of the 11 new cases announced in the southern health region are connected to known cases, Roussin said.
While the high number of new cases may be concerning, Roussin said Manitoba has been in this situation before and dealt with it effectively.
“No one wants to hear 30 cases in a single day,” he said. “A day like this is a reminder that we can’t let our guard down. We’ve been here before and we’ve gotten ourselves out of this by those fundamentals. Manitobans didn’t panic when we were in a similar spot and we’re not going to panic now.”
Roussin also said that travel-related cases are mostly due to international travel or travel to eastern Canada and that it is difficult to ensure that everybody abides by self-isolation guidelines.
"Enforcement is relatively difficult. It’s hard to know who is coming into the province and there’s really no ability to track people.”
He also said some people are attempting to self-isolate but failing to do so effectively.
“Self-isolation isn’t only staying home,” Roussin said. “It’s also limiting contact with other people in the home.”