Less than four weeks after Manitoba confirmed its first cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, the province has 217 known cases and three deaths.
Data on the disease’s trajectory within the province is being updated daily, as public health officials work to understand and contain its spread.
On Tuesday, officials announced 13 new cases and Manitoba’s third COVID-19-related death, and promised to continue efforts to slow the spread.
“I think we’re going to see many, many more cases here in Manitoba,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer.
“But we know we’re going to continue with our efforts. We’re going to escalate our efforts if necessary, depending on our epidemiology.”
Here are the numbers we know about COVID-19 in Manitoba as of Tuesday.
Twelve people with COVID-19 are currently hospitalized in Manitoba, including six people in intensive care.
Some of those patients were diagnosed prior to their admission, while others were diagnosed after they’d already been brought to hospital for respiratory symptoms, Roussin said.
Intensive care units are where the sickest patients with the disease get treated. Those units also provide access to ventilators — a crucial medical resource. The virus has caused overwhelming demand for ventilators in some of the hardest-hit areas, such as Italy, Spain and New York City.
Modelling in other provinces forecasts strain on Canada’s ICUs, too. Ontario, for example, is planning to add nearly 900 new intensive care beds to meet the surge of COVID-19 patients predicted in its best-case scenario models.
However, models for the disease’s trajectory in Manitoba have not been made public. Roussin has said there remains a wide disparity between best- and worst-case scenarios, and public health measures such as social distancing may affect how the virus progresses here.
There were 63 staffed ICU beds in Manitoba as of Monday, said Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer for Shared Health. As of Monday, about 70 per cent of those beds were occupied, she said.
Manitoba has 193 known active cases of COVID-19.
Out of the 217 cases identified so far in the province, 21 people have recovered and three people have died.
On Tuesday, Roussin warned the worst is likely yet to come.
“We are early in our outbreak of our virus” in Manitoba, he said. “I don’t think we are near our peak right now.”
The total number of confirmed or probable cases reflects only those cases that have been successfully identified by testing within the province.
So far, 14,280 tests have been completed in Manitoba, including 781 on Monday.
That total counts the tests that have been processed at Cadham Provincial Laboratory, the province’s lab that handles all local COVID-19 tests.
The figure doesn’t reflect the total number of swabs taken from Manitobans in order to be tested, and it’s unclear how many are in the queue to be tested on any given day.
However, Roussin said last week the backlog for testing had been eliminated, after initially building up due to a shortage of critical supplies such as the reagent used in the processing swabs.
Testing remains limited in Manitoba, and is only offered to symptomatic people who fit certain categories. These include people who have travelled outside Manitoba in the past 14 days, those who have been in close contact with a confirmed case, health-care workers, and lab workers who have worked with COVID-19 tests.
Symptomatic people who live in northern Manitoba, a First Nation, or a remote or isolated community may also be tested, the province says, as can people living in a congregate setting, such as a shelter or a long-term care centre.
How does Manitoba compare?
Canada had 17,840 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday afternoon.
Across the country, 401 people with the illness have died. Nunavut is the only Canadian jurisdiction that has yet to report a confirmed case.
Ontario and Quebec have reported the highest number of deaths in the country.
On Tuesday, Nova Scotia reported its first death — a Cape Breton woman in her 70s who died from complications related to the disease.
More than 80,700 people have died of the disease worldwide as of Tuesday afternoon.
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