Manitoba's five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate edged up to 5.9 per cent and 5.7 per cent in Winnipeg on Sunday, two days after health officials confirmed a third wave of the virus has arrived.
Another 112 new cases of the virus were reported on Sunday.
On Friday, Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead for Manitoba's vaccine task force, confirmed the third wave at a news conference and asked Manitobans to be vigilant against the growing threat of variants — which have been found to spread much faster and cause more hospitalizations, including among younger people.
"Right now, this means that the actions of all Manitobans are critical to ensure that we continue to protect each other. Reduce the number of contacts that you have. Stay home as much as possible," Reimer said on Friday.
Provincial data show 2,149 tests were completed on Saturday, boosting the total number of lab tests since early February 2020 to 604,324.
Five-day test positivity percentages have been rising on a daily basis, particularly within Winnipeg. Two weeks ago, the city's five-day test positivity rate was 3.1 per cent. Fourteen days later, the positivity rate has nearly doubled, after pushing past 5 per cent on Friday.
There are currently 1,312 active cases of the virus in the province. About 10 percent of the current infections — 138 cases — have been confirmed as variants. In total, 412 variant cases have been identified, the vast majority classified as the highly infectious B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom.
No additional deaths from the virus were reported on Sunday. To date, 949 Manitobans have died from COVID-19.
Sixty-five of the new cases were identified in the Winnipeg region, followed by 27 cases in the Northern region, nine cases in Prairie Mountain, seven cases in Interlake-Eastern and four cases in Southern Health.
The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations dropped slightly. There are currently 136 people hospitalized — down from 141 a day earlier — including 31 patients in intensive care.
Health officials warned on Sunday of several possible COVID-19 exposures on Winnipeg Transit buses linked to a case of the B.1.1.7 variant.
The potential exposures included the following dates, routes and times:
• April 2 – Blueline Route: from 3:30 p.m. at Graham Avenue and Fort Street to 4 p.m. at Chancellor Blueline Station;
• April 3 – Route 15: from 1:30 p.m. at Mackenzie Street and Boyd Avenue to 1:45 p.m. at Portage Avenue and Donald Street;
• April 3 – Route 15: from 4:30 p.m. at Ellice Avenue and Empress Street to 5:10 p.m. at Mackenzie Street and Boyd Avenue; and
• April 6 – Route 17: from 9:10 a.m. at McGregor Street and Boyd Avenue to 9:30 a.m. at Graham Avenue and Fort Street.
Other possible exposure locations are listed online by region on the provincial government's website.