Sixteen more families lost loved ones to COVID-19, Manitoba’s chief public health officer announced Tuesday.
Dr. Brent Roussin extended his condolences to the related families, loved ones and caregivers.
“Announcing a list such as this impacts all of us,” he said.
“It’s a difficult list to read out. It’s a tragedy for all Manitobans. We know these are much more than numbers. These are people who are missed, right now. And we know we can’t continue to read lists such as this daily.”
However, the case count and positivity rate for the day did show some indication that critical red public health orders are beginning to have an effect — with slight decreases across the board.
“We can see that our case numbers haven’t been escalating. We’ve seen some variability. Today is another day. So we would hope that this is starting to show a more clear trend downwards,” Roussin said.
“We know the lag period on this. We would see the early indicators, such as decreasing the amount of contacts per case. We’d see that followed by a reduction in the amount of total cases. And then … reduction in hospital admissions and ICU admissions and, finally, lagging to severe outcomes.”
Nevertheless, Roussin continued with his daily messaging.
“So we see our numbers, while not climbing rapidly, are still not where we need them to be. These numbers are still too high for us to sustain. Our hospitalizations and ICU numbers are too high,” he said.
“We keep sending that message to stay home. To reduce the amount of contacts you have, to really bring the number of cases down rapidly.”
Roussin enumerated his daily requests again: only go out for essentials, a minimum of people per household going out for those essentials, limit gatherings outside the home, limit crowding in workplaces, and limit socialization to the household,
“This is all our responsibility. All Manitobans have that responsibility. Please step up right now to decrease the amount of contacts,” Roussin said.
“It’ll always be true that these restrictions are tough. Pandemics are tough. We’re asking for a lot — for people to avoid things that they feel are very important to them. Things that are very difficult to give up even in the short term.”
Roussin emphasized once again the situation is critical, and hospitals are reaching capacity and health-care workers are overwhelmed.
One reporter asked where people are catching COVID-19.
“We see it in workplaces. We see it in households. We see it in smaller gatherings within households. That’s pretty much where we’re where we’re seeing it right now,” Roussin said.
He also said it’s too early to discuss what decisions will be made when the Dec. 11 approaches, the date of expiry for the current public health orders. What will happen with the Christmas school break is also currently unknown.
Similarly, the province has not yet decided on a prioritized list for groups who will first receive the vaccine, when it comes.
“We’re working on that list right now. We’re working here in the province. We’re working at a national level. We’ll have that list and a solid explanation to Manitobans on that process. But right now, we’ll wait till we have something to announce.”
Tuesday’s provincial COVID-19 numbers
Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, reported 16 deaths Tuesday, including two elderly people from the Prairie Mountain Health region — a man in his 80s linked to the Fairview Personal Care Home and a woman in her 100s linked the Gilbert Plains Personal Care Home.
That brings total deaths to 328 — 1.9 per cent of the 17,107 lab-confirmed cases Manitoba has seen since the beginning of the pandemic.
The five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate was 13.1 per cent provincially, with 13.8 per cent in Winnipeg.
There were 283 new cases of the virus. One case was removed due to a data correction, making the total 282.
• 17 cases in the Interlake-Eastern region
• 22 cases in the Northern region
• 12 cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region
• 54 cases in the Southern Health-Santé Sud region
• 178 cases in the Winnipeg health region.
There are 9,066 active cases and 7,713 recovered.
There are 305 active cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region, with 724 recovered and 18 deaths. One Prairie Mountain Health patient is in ICU, and 10 are hospitalized.
Three hundred thirty-eight people are in hospital in Manitoba, with 48 people in intensive care.
Laboratory testing numbers show 2,253 tests were completed Monday, bringing the total number since early February to 357,707.
» Source: Province of Manitoba
Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun