Manitoba reports death of first variant as more infectious coronavirus strains become more common
About one in four cases of COVID-19 in Winnipeg is now caused by a more contagious variant of the coronavirus, Manitoba’s chief public health officer said Thursday, as the province reported its first known death linked to the disease. one of the strains.
Dr Brent Roussin revealed ‘worrying’ statistic as province announced man in his 60s from Winnipeg health region who died in late March had B117 variant first identified in UK .
Sequencing results that determined the case to be a variant returned after the man’s death, Roussin said on a call with reporters.
As the proportion of variant cases in the number of COVID-19 cases in Manitoba increases, the province is examining every possible positive swab for the deadliest strains, Roussin said.
There may come a time when variant cases represent an even larger share of the total number of cases in Manitoba – but the province is working to delay that change.
“There is no real magic number, but at some point if this proportion of cases reaches something around 50 percent [mark], so even screening isn’t that important, right? We just know what our predominant strain is, ”Roussin said.
“That’s why we really have aggressive case and contact management. That’s why we haven’t continued our progress with substantial openness at this point.… We will continue with screening, but for now, I think this is worrying. “
Roussin also announced minor changes to Manitoba’s public health orders that will take effect on Friday. The adjustments will affect alcohol sales on golf courses and capacity limits for self-help meetings.
The province’s pandemic rules will be extended until April 30.
People living in personal care homes will be entitled to two visitors both outside and one at a time inside, the province said in a press release.
Thursday’s update came as Manitoba reported 40 newly identified cases of more infectious coronavirus variants.
Thirty-seven of these cases are variant B117, including 32 in the Winnipeg Health Region, two in each of the Interlake-Eastern and Prairie Mountain health regions, and one in the Southern Health Region. As of Thursday, this strain accounted for nearly 90% of the 339 cases of known variants in Manitoba.
The other three variant cases announced Thursday are in the Winnipeg health region and have yet to be categorized, the province said. That brings the total number of cases of unclassified variants in the province to 21, while the number of cases of B1351 – a strain of coronavirus first seen in South Africa – remains at 20.
As of Thursday afternoon, 89 of Manitoba’s case variants were still active and 249 people had been deemed recovered, according to the province. online variant dashboard.
At least 18 people diagnosed with the most infectious strains have been hospitalized in Manitoba, along with patients between the ages of 20 and 90, a provincial spokesperson said Wednesday. Six of them were under 50 years old.
Most of the variant cases identified in Manitoba to date have occurred in the Winnipeg Health Region. The Northern Health Region remains the only region not to have reported any variant cases.
Close contact with a known case appears to be the determining factor for most known variant cases in Manitoba, the Dashboard says.
More than a quarter of the variant cases reported in the province are still categorized as unknown acquisitions, meaning contact tracers have not been able to determine where the person got it.
Highest number of cases in 7 weeks
Manitoba also announced on Thursday 139 new cases of COVID-19 – the highest daily tally since February 18 – and three deaths.
Sixty of the new COVID-19 cases are in the Winnipeg health region, the province said.
There are also 55 new cases in the Northern Health Region, 18 in the Prairie Mountain Health Region and six in the Southern Health Region. No new cases have been announced in the Interlake East health region, the province said.
The latest COVID-19 deaths, which bring the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Manitoba to 946, have all occurred in the Winnipeg health region. A man and woman in their 60s, the latter linked to the outbreak at Holy Family Home, and a woman in her 80s have died.
Manitoba’s five-day test positivity rate remains 4.8%, the province said, while Winnipeg’s rate rose to 4.6% from 4.4 on Wednesday.
A COVID-19 epidemic has been declared at the Boissevain Health Center and the Evergreen Place personal care home, the province said.
Earlier Thursday, Prime Minister Brian Pallister received his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
WATCH | Prime Minister Brian Pallister receives first dose of COVID-19:
There are now 141 COVID-19 patients in hospital in Manitoba, the province said, up one from Wednesday; 33 of these people are in intensive care, an increase as well.
There are now 34,793 identified cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba, including 32,781 people believed to be cured. Another 1,066 cases are still considered active, the province said.
As of Wednesday, 2,027 COVID-19 tests were performed in Manitoba, bringing the total number of samples taken in the province to 596,872 since early February 2020.