The Provincial Chief of Public Health, Dr. Brent Roussin, urged Manitobans to continue while announcing 133 new cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths on Monday.
“We are certainly not back to normal, we are not out of danger, but we are seeing the trajectory we wanted to see,” he said at a news conference.
“We need to continue to have the Manitobans still working hard to limit the spread of this virus.”
That hard work needs to be continued after the holiday season, said Roussin, maintaining his decision last week to extend the red code restrictions until at least January 22.
There are currently 738 COVID-19 cases linked to face-to-face meetings, and those cases are linked to 2,879 close contacts, he said.
“These high numbers – almost 3,000 people – just from these meetings are now in isolation, a certain proportion of which will become cases. That is why we need to extend the restrictions that we had in place,” he said.
Public health orders will be relaxed gradually when it is safe to do so, he said.
“We still have to see what the impacts of this holiday meeting were.”
Manitoba had 741 deaths related to the new coronavirus.
Of the deaths, two are related to known outbreaks at health facilities – a man in his 80s linked to the McCreary / Alonsa Health Center outbreak and a woman in her 80s at Bethania Mennonite Personal Care Home in Winnipeg.
A man in his 60s in the Northern Health Region also died.
Of the new cases, 47 are in the Winnipeg health region, 34 are in the northern health region, 28 are in the Prairie Mountain health region, 13 are in the southern health region and 11 are in the Interlake-Eastern health region .
The five-day test’s positive rate – a moving average of the percentage of tests that tested positive – fell again on Monday to 10 percent in the provinces and 8.8 percent in Winnipeg.
A total of 26,450 cases have been identified in Manitoba, with 22,295 considered recovered and 3,414 still considered active, although provincial authorities have said that the latest figure is inflated because of an accumulation of data entry.
The number of people hospitalized with the virus has also dropped. As of Monday morning, there were 316 people in the hospital, said Lanette Siragusa, director of nursing at Shared Health.
There are 37 people in intensive care because of COVID-19.
“We are cautiously optimistic that the numbers have stabilized and that they are going to drop slowly and continuously,” said Siragusa.
Some elective surgeries will resume this week in Winnipeg, while others will resume next week at Boundary Trails, Carman and Portage la Prairie hospitals, she said.
Meanwhile, the first vaccinations of residents of long-term care homes in Manitoba started on Monday morning, with Oakview Place residents first in Winnipeg getting the vaccines.
Very well, Margaret! Thank you for being our first !! pic.twitter.com/QAFblyPlp4
Over the weekend, the Manitoba government expanded the COVID-19 vaccination eligibility criteria to include some home care workers and first responders, and outlined its plans to establish a supersite for vaccinations in Brandon.
Another outbreak was reported at the Headingley Correctional Center. The province has changed to orange, or restricted, in the color-coded Manitoba pandemic response system.
The outbreak at the Benito Health Center is over.
The province announced 151 new cases of COVID-19 and five more deaths from the virus on Sunday.