Manitoba is still seeing too much fluctuation in its COVID-19 numbers to know whether more restrictions are needed in areas hit hardest by the fourth wave, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin says.
“We’re seeing days where test positivity is increasing, and other days where it’s decreasing. We’re seeing [new case] numbers climbing over time, but also not at an exponential rate,” he said at a news conference on Zoom Wednesday afternoon.
More people are vaccinated now, and that’s helping to blunt the exponential growth in cases the province saw in previous waves, he said.
“So certainly, we’re at a concerning point, but it’s clear that vaccines have changed the trajectory of this wave.”
Roussin won’t rule out adding more targeted rules for the province’s Southern Health region, which continues to have by far Manitoba’s highest test positivity rate and its lowest vaccination rate.
On Wednesday, the region had nearly half of the province’s new cases, with 71 of the 147 infections reported. Just over half of Manitoba’s latest cases were also among people not fully vaccinated.
“We’ve been mentioning for quite some time that [we’ve been] concerned with the transmission in Southern Health, the amount of severe outcomes we’re seeing,” Roussin said.
“We know this is spread in indoor public gatherings. We know that the unvaccinated are [at] much greater risk of acquiring COVID, much greater risk of having severe outcomes. So any restrictions going forward need to focus on those types of ideas.”
Test positivity data obtained by CBC News on Wednesday shows the Southern Health region’s test positivity rate now sits at 17.4 per cent. The provincial rate remains 5.9 per cent, the province’s online coronavirus dashboard says.
Winnipeg currently has the lowest rate in Manitoba at 2.9 per cent, the data obtained by CBC News says.
The Interlake-Eastern health region’s rate is 3.9 per cent, the Prairie Mountain Health region’s at 7.4 per cent and the Northern Health Region’s at 8.4 per cent, the data says.
Meanwhile, vaccine uptake among those born in 2009 or earlier in Southern Health region is now 69.1 per cent. That’s also in stark contrast to the provincial rate, which is 87.5 per cent.
Manitoba introduced new pandemic restrictions specifically targeting the Southern Health region earlier this month, when religious gatherings that don’t require proof of vaccination had their capacity reduced.
Doses for kids 5-11 start
Wednesday is also the day Manitoba starts vaccinating kids age five to 11 against COVID-19, Dr. Joss Reimer, the medical lead of Manitoba’s vaccine task force, said at the news conference alongside Roussin.
That’s one day ahead of schedule, a change that happened after pediatric vaccine doses arrived Tuesday morning.
So far, Manitoba has booked 23,310 appointments for children in that age group, Reimer said.
“This is so impressive and it underscores what we knew: that Manitoba parents of younger children want to get their children vaccinated to protect them from COVID-19 and to help protect the whole community,” she said.
Reimer said the clinics for pediatric doses take a more kid-friendly approach than the supersites set up for adults earlier in the year.
“We want to continue to be efficient, but that’s not our No. 1 goal,” she said.
More time is taken to make sure kids are comfortable during the process and get answers to any questions they have about the shot, she said.
Manitoba also plans to change some of its public reporting on COVID-19, Roussin said.
After Friday, the province will no longer provide details of possible exposures on flights, trains and buses in Manitoba.
It will also stop reporting details about more contagious coronavirus variants in the province now that 98 per cent of Manitoba’s new cases are the delta variant, Roussin said.
On Wednesday, Manitoba reported that its total number of cases linked to those variants climbed by 74, the province’s online variant dashboard says. Seventy-five more cases are now listed as unspecified, while the number of delta cases dropped by one.
Three more deaths linked to COVID-19 were also reported in Manitoba on Wednesday, including two connected to variants.
The province now has 153 people in hospital with the illness and 22 in intensive care.
The rest of the COVID-19 cases reported Wednesday are split between the Winnipeg health region, which has 33, the Prairie Mountain Health region, with 23, the Northern Health Region, with 12, and the Interlake-Eastern health region, with eight new cases.
The new cases bring Manitoba’s weekly average of new infections down slightly to 159.
There are now 1,537 active COVID-19 cases in the province, the coronavirus dashboard says, while 64,256 people in Manitoba have been deemed recovered after getting the illness.
A total of 1,299 people in the province have died from COVID-19, the dashboard says.
Manitoba did 2,710 more COVID-19 tests on Tuesday.
RELEASE: COVID concerns at Signal Brewery – Quinte News
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is advising individuals who attended Signal Brewery (Corbyville) between November 19 – December 4 that they may have had an exposure to COVID-19. HPEPH is in the process of investigating multiple cases of COVID-19 that were present at the restaurant during this time frame. Signal Brewery has closed voluntarily while the investigation is underway.
All individuals who attended Signal Brewery between November 19 – December 4 are:
- Advised to seek testing immediately for COVID-19, even if you do not have symptoms.
- Monitor closely for symptoms of COVID-19.
- If symptoms develop, even mild ones such as a runny nose or sore throat, isolate at home and away from others, and seek testing again, even if you were negative the first time.
While HPEPH does not typically disclose the location of COVID-19 cases in order to protect individuals’ privacy, this information is disclosed when needed to meet public health objectives such as prompt notification of potential contacts and reducing the risk of further transmission. HPEPH is in the process of contacting identified high-risk contacts related to these cases. All high-risk contacts will be instructed by HPEPH to self-isolate immediately and to get tested.
“I am urging individuals who attended Signal Brewery on these dates to seek testing, even if they do not have symptoms, in order to protect those around them,” says Dr. Ethan Toumishey, Acting Medical Officer of Health at HPEPH. “All residents are asked to remain vigilant and protect one another – and this includes getting tested if advised, staying home and getting tested if you have symptoms, and limiting your close contacts. If you are not vaccinated, get vaccinated as soon as possible.”
WECHU issues additional COVID-19 measures | CTV News – CTV News Windsor
The Windsor Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) has issued a letter of instruction, aiming to address a surge in COVID-19 cases.
With cases of COVID-19 climbing steadily in the past month, local health officials say they are once again putting in place restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.
According to the health unit, the updated letter addresses the key settings associated with COVID-19 transmission identified through ongoing case investigations, which have identified social gatherings as an area of significant concern.
In particular, the revised Letter of Instruction contains the following additional measures:
- Social gatherings limited to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors.
- Added measures for wedding receptions and the social events tied to funerals and religious services.
- Limiting indoor capacity for bars and restaurants to 50% of their total occupancy.
- Strict adherence to face covering requirements in all public settings.
Without further intervention, WECHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Shanker Nesathurai believes cases can reach levels similar to those seen at the same time last year.
“We are very worried that we are already seeing this surge of cases in advance of the holiday season and its associated social gatherings,” said Nesathurai. “Immediate action needs to be taken by all residents to address the known sources of transmission which are social gatherings, both in homes and in the community.”
The updated changes go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 10.
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