A fifth case of the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant has been found in Manitoba as public-health officials reported 76 new cases and two new outbreaks at health-care facilities.
In a news release Tuesday, officials said there were no new deaths related to COVID-19; the last time Manitoba reported no COVID-19 deaths was Oct. 20.
Officials did not hold a media availability Tuesday and no additional information about the new variant case was provided in the daily bulletin.
So far, Manitoba has confirmed five cases of the B.1.1.7 variant through genomic sequencing.
Three cases were detected last Friday related to international travel. Health officials at the time said all three cases had reported close contacts.
The B.1.1.7 variant, which was first detected in the United Kingdom last fall, is between 50 and 70 per cent more transmissible than the coronavirus circulating in Manitoba. If introduced into the community, it can become the dominant strain and lead to more infections and higher rates of hospital admissions, experts say.
Winnipeg reported 47 new cases Tuesday, followed by Northern health with 21, Interlake-Eastern with seven and Prairie Mountain with one.
Provincewide, the five-day test positivity rate is five per cent and 4.3 per cent in Winnipeg. Laboratories processed 1,390 tests Monday.
The province said eight previously reported cases have been removed due to data correction. As of Tuesday, 31,551 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Manitoba.
New outbreaks of the virus were declared at St. Boniface Hospital in unit A5 and Poseidon Personal Care Home in Winnipeg. Meanwhile, outbreaks at River East Personal Care Home and Deer Lodge Centre in Winnipeg, and St. Anthony’s General Hospital in The Pas have concluded.
Public-health officials are also alerting members of the public to a COVID-19 exposure on Perimeter Airlines flight JV639 on Feb. 17 from Garden Hill to St. Theresa’s Point to Winnipeg between 9:30 and 11 a.m.
As of Tuesday morning, 216 people were being treated in hospital for COVID-19, including 33 patients in intensive care. Eighty-five patients are considered to have active infections.
Manitoba has reported 886 total COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic started.