Concerning increases in COVID-19 cases and intensive-care hospitalizations are straining Manitoba's health-care system, the province's top doctor acknowledged Monday.

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Concerning increases in COVID-19 cases and intensive-care hospitalizations are straining Manitoba's health-care system, the province's top doctor acknowledged Monday.

COVID-19 cases in Manitoba more than doubled between March and April, and more than 800 new cases were reported Saturday through Monday, Dr. Brent Roussin said.

As of Monday, there were 178 Manitobans hospitalized with COVID-19 — 45 of those patients were in intensive care, taking up more than half of the province's usual ICU capacity.

"We're seeing a concerning trajectory, going up in essentially every indicator. We're starting to see that strain on the health-care system," Roussin said.

"We're concerned, that's why we adjusted the public health orders last week, and we're going to follow things really closely. We need Manitobans to act now."

Roussin didn't announce any changes to provincial public health restrictions, but said nothing is off the table. The existing orders, which were slightly adjusted last week, expire May 25.

The orders could be altered before then, but Roussin offered no specifics during Monday's news conference.

On Monday, the province announced the death of a Winnipeg man in his 50s who was infected with the B.1.1.7 variant. That variant, first detected in the U.K,, is now the dominant strain in Manitoba and elsewhere in Canada.

A total of 979 Manitobans have died of COVID-19, and seven of those deaths have been linked to highly infectious strains of COVID-19.

The provincewide test positivity rate was eight per cent; in Winnipeg, it was 8.7 per cent.

Of the 251 new cases announced across the province Monday, 184 were in the Winnipeg health region, 20 in Interlake-Eastern, 18 in Southern Health, 15 in Northern Health, and 14 in Prairie Mountain.

Younger Manitobans who become infected with COVID-19 are increasingly being admitted to hospital. There were 117 people in hospital battling active cases of COVID-19, and 61 patients who are still recovering in hospital even though they're no longer contagious, the province said.

katie.may@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @thatkatiemay

Katie May

Katie May
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Katie May reports on courts, crime and justice for the Free Press.

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