News briefs for Dec. 24


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Flu cases decline; 26 added to COVID death toll

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Flu cases decline; 26 added to COVID death toll

Confirmed flu cases appear to be declining in Manitoba and across the country, the province’s latest respiratory virus report shows.

Manitoba’s test positivity rate for influenza has decreased. It was 13.6 per cent during the week of Dec. 11 to 17, compared with 27.2 per cent the previous week.

However, most Manitobans with flu symptoms aren’t being tested for influenza.

Last week, the number of average daily specimens was 251. In the children’s hospital, many patients are being diagnosed as having “flu-like symptoms” rather than being formally lab tested, hospital officials stated previously.

National influenza rates are also decreasing. Manitoba is reporting five additional influenza-related deaths and 48 hospitalizations this week, with no reported intensive-care admissions.

The provincial report states cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are still rising.

The weekly COVID-19 epidemiological report listed zero deaths in the week ending Dec. 17, but the total death toll for COVID-19 jumped by 26.

COVID-19 caused 50 hospitalizations and 12 ICU admissions during that week, the report shows.

Klein becomes MLA

Kevin Klein was sworn in Friday as the Progressive Conservative MLA for the west Winnipeg riding of Kirkfield Park, just over a week after a narrow byelection victory.

Klein defeated NDP challenger Logan Oxenham by 161 votes in the Dec. 13 contest to replace Scott Fielding, the former PC MLA who resigned in June.

Liberal candidate Rhonda Nichol finished third.

Klein, the former city councillor for Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood, came third in Winnipeg’s mayoral election Oct. 26 behind winner Scott Gillingham and Glen Murray.

Police watchdog drops probe

THE province’s police watchdog has ended an investigation into speeding by an RCMP officer because it couldn’t find out who was involved.

The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba said on Friday that despite looking at the RCMP occurrence summary, vehicle status, and surveillance video from a restaurant and gas station, investigators couldn’t tell who was driving the unmarked police cruiser.

The IIU also said because the only eyewitness gave inconclusive and confusing evidence, the matter has been dropped.

The investigation began when the RCMP told the IIU a witness had spotted a cruiser driving westbound on the Trans-Canada Highway at an excessive speed on Oct. 6.

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