Another person with COVID-19 has died in Manitoba, bringing the total number of coronavirus-linked fatalities in the province to 12, provincial health officials say.
The man who died was in his 60s and in intensive care, a news bulletin said on Wednesday.
He was from the Grey health district in Manitoba’s Southern Health region. His case was previously announced and connected to a known cluster, the bulletin said.
Manitoba has had several COVID-19 fatalities in recent days, with two announced on Tuesday and another on Saturday. Before that, the province had not seen a death linked to the illness since mid-July.
There were also 15 new cases of the illness announced on Wednesday, with 13 of those cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region.
Initial investigations suggest most of the new cases in that area are linked to contacts of known COVID-19 cases, the bulletin said, though there are cases of community spread in that region.
The cases announced in that area on Wednesday include a boy and a girl between 10 and 19, a woman in her 20s, a woman and two men in their 30s, two women and two men in their 40s, and two women and a man in their 50s.
The remaining two new cases announced Wednesday are a man in his 40s from the Southern Health region and a man in his 30s from the Winnipeg health region, the bulletin said.
More information about the new cases will only be provided if there’s a risk to public health, the bulletin said.
Public health officials also announced possible COVID-19 exposures at the Wigwam Restaurant in Wasagaming, Man.: on Aug. 13 from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., on Aug. 14 from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. and on Aug. 15 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The risk of transmission from these exposures is considered low, but the information is being given to help people assess their own risk and get tested if they start showing symptoms, the bulletin said.
Six people in Manitoba are now in hospital with COVID-19, two of them in intensive care, the bulletin said. To date, 528 people in the province have recovered from the illness.
Manitoba’s rolling five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is now 1.6 per cent, down slightly from 1.8 per cent on Tuesday, the bulletin said.
60 cases linked to Brandon plant
Wednesday’s update brings the province’s total identified cases to 763; 223 are active, the bulletin said.
Eighty-eight of those cases were in the Brandon health district as of Wednesday afternoon, the province’s COVID-19 data portal says, making it the province’s largest hot spot. Another 76 people were listed as recovered in that region, the dashboard says.
Some of those cases are linked to the southwestern Manitoba city’s Maple Leaf Foods pork processing plant, which as of Wednesday had 60 employees who had tested positive for the illness, a spokesperson for the company said. Another 254 workers at the plant had tested negative for COVID-19, the spokesperson said.
Public health officials have been meeting twice daily with representatives from Maple Leaf to keep the situation at the Brandon plant under control, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said at a news conference on Wednesday afternoon.
“The safety protocols in place are above and beyond. We still don’t have direct evidence of workplace transmission,” he said.
“We are working with testing strategies and how we could, you know, ensure we’re doing what we can to limit any spread within that facility.”
On Tuesday, 1,376 more COVID-19 tests were done in Manitoba, bringing the total number done since early February to 118,364.
Provincial officials again reminded people to stay home when sick, practise proper hand hygiene and cover their coughs. It also reiterated the importance of practising physical distancing when with people from outside your household and wearing a mask if distancing isn’t possible.
Public health officials are still only recommending people with symptoms of COVID-19 be tested for the illness. It also repeated that employers should only send their workers for testing if they have symptoms or if public health officials have recommended testing.
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