By Don Norman
The latest COVID-19 data released by the province shows the beginnings of a downward curve.
The March 10 release indicated that there have been 230 cases of COVID-19 reported against 92 recoveries. A week ago, the province’s April 3 release noted 182 cases against just 11 recoveries. So while the total cases has risen by 48 cases, because of recent recoveries, there are now 33 less active cases of COVID-19 than there was a week ago.
The good news should be tempered somewhat. The last two days saw 50 patients added to the “recovered list” and it was only three days earlier (on April 7) that it reached a peak of 196 active cases. So, it’s early and the drop in active cases could be erased overnight with a big batch of new cases like we saw on April 2, when 40 additional cases were added in one day.
But the fact that a decrease in active cases is a phenomena that is occurring across Western Canada, leaves some room for optimism. In BC, the number of active cases dropped by 38 in the week of April 1-8, while their new cases per day has been steadily falling.
Despite this positive news, the province has told Manitobans to stay the course. “Manitobans should not interpret current case numbers to mean the risk is reduced,” said their latest report. “The current statistics may be a reflection of the effect strict social distancing measures have had and reaffirms that these measures must be continued. Manitobans are reminded this is not the time to let their guard down.” The report also discussed the coming holiday weekend, “families are reminded that gatherings with anyone from outside your household are strongly discouraged.”
Locally, the Pine Falls testing centre will be closed on Good Friday and the number of COVID-19 cases remains unchanged at 14 for the Interlake-Eastman Region. IERHA CAO, Ron Van Denakker said that the province won’t allow them to identify the communities in which the cases are located, nor would they break it down to Eastman cases and Interlake cases.
On the positive side, Van Denakker said there appears to be no infections caused by the nurse who tested positive from the Selkirk Regional Health Centre.
The latest provincial COVID-19 report identified three additional cases of the virus as of 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, bringing the total number of lab-confirmed positive and probable positive cases in Manitoba to 224.
The data also shows:
• 11 individuals are currently hospitalized, which includes five individuals in intensive care;
• 76 individuals have recovered from COVID-19; and
• the total number of deaths reported in Manitoba is three.
Cadham Provincial Laboratory performed 551 tests Wednesday. A total of 15,259 tests have been performed since early February.
Manitoba has chosen to close public facilities in provincial parks, effective immediately. While the parks will remain open, public facilities including washrooms, playgrounds, and the use of picnic areas and group shelters will be closed to ensure social distancing practices are enforced.
Public health officials are expanding testing criteria to include first responders with respiratory symptoms. This would include positions such as paramedics, police and firefighters. Current testing parameters include people with symptoms who have travelled outside Manitoba in the last 14 days, close contacts of a confirmed case, health-care workers, all patients admitted to hospital with respiratory symptoms, lab workers who have worked with COVID-19 tests, and individuals who live/work in the north, a remote or isolated community, or congregate setting.
Health officials continue to remind Manitobans to seek medical attention when it is required. For serious health issues call 911, go to an emergency department or an urgent care centre. Hospitals are safe places and health-care providers will ensure every precaution is taken while providing care.
For up-to-date information on community screening sites, visit www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/locations.html.
Public health is also advising people to remain within or close to their home communities. This includes limiting travel, even within Manitoba, to essential trips only. Visiting cottages, whether in Manitoba or a neighbouring province. is not recommended at this time.