Of the newly identified cases of the B117 coronavirus variant announced on Friday, 44 are in the Winnipeg area and two in the Southern Health Region, said Dr Jazz Atwal, acting deputy director of public health during a report. a press conference. There are now 109 confirmed cases of the B117 variant in Manitoba and 14 confirmed cases of the B1351 variant, which was first identified in South Africa.
“In general, we are seeing an increase in our cases across Manitoba.… We are also seeing the number of [variants of concern] increase as well, ”Atwal said.
“Right now, about 32 percent of all cases in Manitoba test positive for a VOC, so we’re keeping an eye on it.
Manitoba is also reporting 116 more cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths from the illness caused by the coronavirus.
Most new cases are in Winnipeg Health Region – 51 – and Northern Health Region – 55.
There are also five cases in Southern Health Region, three in Prairie Mountain Health Region and two in Interlake East Health Region.
The sharp increase in the number of variant cases will likely lead to more cases next week, Atwal said at the press conference on Friday afternoon.
“Think about all of those interactions you’ve had on a daily basis for the past two weeks. Each of these interactions, if you take note of them, has an inherent risk, ”he said.
“Some are a little less risky and some a little more, so we always have to be aware of that. ”
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Craig Jenne, associate professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the University of Calgary and Canada Research Chair, says variants of concern are difficult to control once they have settled down. spread to different parts of the province.
“Once it starts to spread, the ability to put this genie back in the bottle quickly wears off and we know it will continue to spread,” he said.
There is good news, however.
“The four vaccines approved in Canada are still quite effective against these variants. Although they have a slightly reduced ability to stop the spread of variants, they are still excellent at protecting against serious illness, hospitalization, admission to the intensive care unit, and perhaps most critically. , loss of life to COVID, ”Jenne said.
« [Variants of concern are] spreads quickly. We need to keep them low and limit this spread until the vaccines are distributed to as many people as possible, then we will have protection even against these variants. ”
The deaths announced Friday included a man in his 60s from Interlake East Health Region, a man in his 60s from Northern Health Region and a man in his 60s from Winnipeg Health Region.
They bring the total number of deaths caused by COVID-19 in Manitoba to 932.
The number of cases is increasing
The total number of hospitalizations linked to COVID-19 rose to 142 on Friday, from 146 the day before. That includes 31 patients in intensive care units, up from 30 on Thursday.
Manitoba’s test positivity rate is 4.4 percent, down from 4.3, and Winnipeg’s rate has dropped to 3.6 percent.
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The seven-day average daily number of cases has increased gradually since the start of the month. As of March 1, the average was around 61 cases per day. Now it’s around 90, an increase of almost 50 percent during that time.
Aside from Thursday, there were two more days in the month that passed 100 for new daily cases. On March 12 there were 104 and on March 16 there were 110. The numbers moved closer on March 23, too, to 98.
The province now has 1,169 active cases of COVID-19 and 31,709 people have recovered from the disease.
Laboratories performed 1,959 COVID-19 tests on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the outbreak at the Actionmarguerite St. Joseph personal care home in Winnipeg is now over.
WATCH | Full press conference on COVID-19 | March 26, 2021