Manitoba has passed 500 deaths from COVID-19 as Manitoba added nine more to the total on Tuesday.

There are 272 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, the daily update on the data portal says. The provincial test positivity rate rose to 14.2 per cent, the first time it has gone above 14 per cent since Nov. 28.

The number of hospitalized patients with active COVID-19 rose to 311, with 78 additional patients who are no longer considered infectious, for a total of 389 people. The number of active cases in intensive care units is 44, plus eight patients who are no longer infectious.

Manitoba health leaders delivered the latest details about COVID-19 in Manitoba via a conference call on Tuesday afternoon, as the first shipment of vaccines arrived in the province.

The province is preparing to begin vaccinating front-line health-care workers as soon as Wednesday.

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, and Dr. Jazz Atwal, acting deputy chief provincial public health officer, spoke to reporters, but the briefings aren’t being live streamed on Tuesdays and Thursdays over the holidays.

Six of the nine deaths announced Tuesday are connected to outbreaks at personal care homes:

A man in his 70s linked to the Saul and Claribel Simkin Centre in Winnipeg. A woman in her 80s linked to Park Manor Care home in Winnipeg. A woman in her 90s linked to the Charleswood Care Centre in Winnipeg A man in his 90s linked to the Holy Family personal care home in Winnipeg. A woman in her 90s linked to the outbreak at Kin Place in the Interlake-Eastern health region. A woman in her 90s linked to Kin Place in the Prairie Mountain Health region.

The deaths also include a man in his 70s and two men in their 80s, all from the Winnipeg health region. 

A total of 508 people have died from COVID-19 in Manitoba.

Nearly half (130) of the new cases announced Tuesday are in the Winnipeg region, with 53 cases in the Northern Health Region, 49 cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region, 25 cases in the Southern Health region, and 15 cases in the Interlake-Eastern region.

They bring the province’s total number of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic to 21,535.

A total of 1,561 COVID-19 tests were completed in Manitoba labs on Monday. 

On Monday, Roussin and Manitoba Shared Health Chief Nursing Officer Lanette Siragusa issued a plea to Manitobans to avoid gathering with people from other households over the holidays, fearing it will lead to a spike in cases similar to what happened after Thanksgiving. 

Peguis First Nation Chief Glenn Hudson said Monday that his community can allow extended family and students to return to the community during periods of relaxed restrictions over the holidays because the First Nation went into lockdown five weeks before the rest of Manitoba. That has allowed them to get their infection numbers down, so they can reward community members with visits, he said.

Members of the military arrived in Red Sucker Lake First Nation on Monday to assess a COVID-19 outbreak in the community. Further south, Chief Nelson Genaille of Sapotaweyak Cree Nation, north of Swan River, Man., is also dealing with an outbreak in the community.



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