Shortly after Manitoba reported a once-unimaginable 3,265 new COVID-19 cases Friday, the province extended public-health orders for another three weeks.

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Shortly after Manitoba reported a once-unimaginable 3,265 new COVID-19 cases Friday, the province extended public-health orders for another three weeks.

The existing orders, which impose capacity limits and restrict gathering sizes, were due to expire Tuesday but will remain in effect until Feb. 1.

Friday’s record number of cases represents only a fraction of the overall number of infected residents.

The provincial five-day test-positivity rate stands at 44.4 per cent, but is not an accurate reflection of the community-transmission rate because it counts only lab-processed PCR test samples; most Manitobans now have access — extremely limited in many areas —to rapid test kits, the results of which are not collected by health officials. That makes the daily reported case count artificially low.

Of the new cases, 2,168 are in Winnipeg — where the test-positivity rate is more than 52 per cent — 378 are in Southern Health, 285 are in Prairie Mountain, 264 are in Interlake-Eastern and 170 are in the Northern Health region.

There are 34 COVID-19 patients in ICU, up from 33 Thursday, and 297 total patients hospitalized with the virus.

Public-health officials are putting more weight on hospitalization figures than case counts fuelled by the rampaging Omicron strain of the virus. Promised hospital-admission projections have not yet been publicly released.

Outbreaks have been declared at seven personal-care homes in Winnipeg — Poseidon Care Centre, Golden West Centennial Lodge, Convalescent Home of Winnipeg, Kildonan Personal Care Centre, River Park Gardens, Concordia Place, Lions Manor — along with Brandon’s Fairview and Hillcrest Place, Tudor House in Selkirk, and Sandy Lake in that community.

Six deaths previously recorded and included in provincial data earlier this week were announced Friday: two men from the Interlake-Eastern health region, both in their 50s; two men their 60s from Southern Health; and a man and woman, both in their 8os, from the Winnipeg health region. No new deaths were reported Friday.

— Staff

Katie May

Katie May
Reporter

Katie May is a general-assignment reporter for the Free Press.