Manitoba has identified 14 new probable cases of COVID-19, including one person who tested positive in Prairie Mountain Health.
This brings the total number of lab-confirmed positive and probable positive cases in Manitoba to 35 as of Wednesday.
Health officials are not revealing any further details on the case in
the PMH region, citing patient privacy.
In one case, a Winnipeg woman in her 60s has been admitted to hospital in critical condition and is in intensive care, Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, said during the province’s daily live-streamed news conference Wednesday.
While most of the new cases are in Winnipeg, two others were identified in the Southern Health Santé Sud health region, which incorporates much of central Manitoba, including Portage la Prairie. One is a woman in her 30s, while another is a woman in her 50s.
One of the cases in Winnipeg is a girl under the age of 10.
Roussin said most of the new cases are connected to travel or through contact to previously announced cases of COVID-19.
"It’s hard to know exactly why we’re seeing this, and it’s hard to make much of it after just one day like this," he said, noting some days there have been no new cases at all.
"We’ll have to see the trend over time," Roussin said.
"There’s lots of reasons behind why we’re going to see increased cases," he added. "What to make of
this particular day, it’s too early to tell."
While the new cases that involve contact with known cases of COVID-19 could be considered community transmission because the virus has been transmitted here, Roussin said, "When we talk about community transmission, we’re really referring to pop-up cases where we can’t link the individual to a known transmission chain. So I don’t have evidence of that at this point."
As of Tuesday, more than 4,800 tests have been completed at Cadham Provincial Laboratory, Roussin said, and the lab has found a workaround to a global shortage of reagent — a viral transport medium — to increase the number of tests it can perform.
He said as the lab increases its capacity for testing, the province will expand its priority testing criteria.
Meanwhile, the province hasn’t seen an increase in the number of people reporting to emergency departments with respiratory symptoms, Roussin said.
He again emphasized the need to remain diligent when it comes to precautions to slow the spread of the virus, including social distancing, regular handwashing and staying home when you are ill.
"We know everyone is showing signs of fear and it’s understandable, but it’s vitally important for us to all take part in this," Roussin said.
"All Manitobans are in control of how long these enhanced social measures are necessary, and we really do need to take this seriously," said Lanette Siragusa, Shared Health’s chief nursing officer.
"We need to socially distance ourselves, we need to self-isolate if directed to, and we need to stay home if we’re not feeling well. The sooner we can get through this, the better our province will be."
A 12th community testing site opened Tuesday in Winkler, Siragusa said, and more sites are planned for rural Manitoba, including Prairie Mountain Health.
The Brandon testing site has seen 159 clients since opening March 18. All the sites, including the drive-thrus, are by referral only. They are not open for walk-ins.
Meanwhile, wait times to get through to Health Links dropped considerably to an average of 23 minutes on Tuesday, Siragusa said.
The Health Links toll-free number is 1-888-315-9257.
More information on the pandemic, including the online self-screening tool, can be found at Manitoba.ca/covid19.