Manitoba reported two new positive tests for the novel coronavirus May 11, bringing the total since the first positive test in mid-March to 289, but there are only 35 active cases in the province right now.
There were four people in hospital May 11 due to COVID-19, one of those in intensive care. The number of people who are considered recovered from their infections is 247 and seven people have died from the virus over the past two months.
The number of positive tests for COVID-19 in the Northern Regional Health Authority area, which covers most of Manitoba above the 53rd parallel with the exception of Churchill, remains at three.
Chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said the low numbers of new cases and the steps being taken to relax public health orders and gradually reopen Manitoba’s economy does not mean the risk of contracting the virus has disappeared.
“This virus is still circulating in the province,” he said, adding the people should continue to stay home and maintain physical distancing, particularly if they are members of high-risk groups like those over 65 years of age, those with underlying heart or lung conditions, or those with compromised immunity. “We can see a resurgence if we’re not careful."
He also stressed that people who have respiratory illness symptoms such as a runny nose, a cough, a sore throat or a fever should stay home and contact Health Links if they want to get tested for the virus.
On May 10, 374 COVID-19 laboratory tests were performed, bringing the total number performed since early February to 31,029.
“We have much more lab capacity than we’re utilizing at this point,” Roussin said, noting that the turnaround time for positive cases being notified averages about 24 hours.
Roussin said it will likely take two incubation periods - a total of 28 days - before the effect of loosening public health restrictions can be evaluated and further relaxation of public health orders considered.
He also said that the 14 day self-isolation requirement on people who come to Manitoba from other provinces will remain in place for quite some time.
“That’s going to be in place as long as we see that the rates are higher in other provinces,” said Roussin.
Beginning this week, Roussin and Manitoba chief nursing officer Lanette Siragusa will only hold press conferences to update the coronavirus situation in the province on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, rather than every weekday.
As of May 11 there were 69,156 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, and 4,906 people had died from their infections.