September 23, 2020

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16 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba Wednesday

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With the announcement of 16 new positive tests Wednesday, Manitoba continued a four-day run of new highs for its number of active COVID-19 cases.

After spiking at 163 on April 4, the province logged a steady decline and plateau through mid-July. The climb began again July 19-20, and has now reached 202 active cases, health officials said.

After watching the number of new cases rise in the Southern and Prairie Mountain health regions this month, while Winnipeg recorded few, the tables turned Wednesday.

Of the 16 new cases, only four are part of the Brandon cluster of cases in the Prairie Mountain health region, one is in the Interlake-Eastern region, and one is in Southern Health. Ten were reported in the Winnipeg region.

The majority of the Winnipeg cases are related to travel and close contacts, according to preliminary investigations by public health.

In an advisory, officials warned of potential exposure to COVID-19 on flights on Aug. 3-4:

— Air India Flight AI 121 to Frankfurt, Germany, from New Delhi on Aug. 3. Affected rows include Nos. 30 to 36;

— Air Canada Flight 873 to Toronto from Frankfurt on Aug. 4. Affected rows include Nos. 32 to 38;

— Air Canada Flight 271 to Winnipeg from Toronto on Aug. 4. Affected rows include Nos. 19 to 25.

All passengers on international flights — and anyone returning to Manitoba from points east of Terrace Bay, Ont. — should be self-isolating for 14 days and getting tested if symptoms develop, officials said.

The majority of Prairie Mountain coronavirus cases reported Wednesday are linked to previously announced cases in Brandon, health officials said. They would not specify how many of the four cases are in Brandon or if they're workers at the city's Maple Leaf Foods plant, which public health officials have identified only as "a Brandon business."

In a news release, they repeated a familiar line: "Case investigations are ongoing; when they are completed, additional information will be provided as needed to inform of any public health risks."

Ontario-based Maple Leaf, which has been providing updates on the number of infected workers, did not respond Wednesday when asked if any of the new cases are employees at the Brandon plant.

The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate dropped to 1.06 per cent from 1.27 per cent Tuesday. The total number of lab-confirmed positive and probable positive cases in Manitoba is 578, with 368 who've recovered and eight who have died.

An additional 1,554 laboratory tests were completed Tuesday, bringing the total number of tests completed since early February to 105,661.

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Legislature reporter

After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.

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