COVID-19 news through northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan was a mixed bag Wednesday. Some good news came from Manitoba, including from Cross Lake, while an outbreak in Pelican Narrows appears to be worsening.
Manitoba reported 349 new COVID-19 cases and nine more deaths from the disease Nov. 25, including 30 cases in the Northern Health Region. No deaths were reported in northern communities. One death previously reported by the provincial government - that of a man in his 20s in Winnipeg - was taken off the board. The man is actually still alive, but was accidentally marked as dead by a health official. The province labelled the mistake "a data entry error".
Throughout Manitoba, 8,758 people have active cases of COVID-19 - more than the population of Flin Flon, Creighton, Denare Beach and Snow Lake combined - while 303 people are in hospital with COVID-19 and 50 of those people are in intensive care.
No new cases were reported by the provincial government in the Flin Flon/Snow Lake/Cranberry Portage/Sherridon health district Wednesday. The district has four active cases and eight recoveries - the four cases have been confirmed by local officials to be in the Flin Flon area and all four people are in isolation.
In northern Saskatchewan, cases in Pelican Narrows appear to be increasing. An online update from the Angelique Canada Health Centre - Pelican Narrows' main health facility - states the number of active cases has increased to 29 as of late Nov. 24. The provincial government has listed 28 active cases within the far north east 2 health zone - which also includes Creighton, Denare Beach, Sandy Bay and other nearby communities - with eight new cases reported Nov. 25. The Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority declared an outbreak in Pelican Narrows Nov. 23, citing "an increasing number of confirmed cases with evidence of community transmission."
Back to northern Manitoba, the district with the largest increase in net cases was Thompson/Mystery Lake, where 26 people now have active COVID-19 cases. The district, formerly the site of an outbreak at the local YWCA and several possible exposures at schools and businesses, went down to the low 10s of cases recently, before numbers began to climb once more. Sixty people have had COVID-19 in the district and later recovered. The Shamattawa/York Factory/Tataskweyak/Split Lake district, which now has 25 active cases, is also seeing an increase, going up from 22 active cases Tuesday.
Officials from Cross Lake have said all cases within Cross Lake First Nation (Pimicikamak Okimawin) have recovered. Cross Lake Chief David Monias issued a statement Nov. 24 saying the community was now clear of COVID-19.
"Today is a significant day for our people, our community and our Nation. Today, all of our COVID-19 cases are 100 per cent recovered in our community and our Nation. We have no positive cases in Cross Lake," said Monias in an online post, giving thanks to the Creator for the positive news.
The provincial government apparently not yet processed that same information yet - while COVID-19 cases in the community have dropped in recent days, according to provincial statistics, 46 active cases are still on the board in the Cross Lake/Pimicikamak district. Delays in sharing testing results publicly have often occurred when the province has dealt with cases in remote northern communities - a cluster of seven cases in York Factory First Nation earlier in the pandemic was announced as recovered by local officials days before the province showed the cases as recovered.
The Pas/OCN/Kelsey and Grand Rapids/Misipawistik/Moose Lake/Mosakahiken/Easterville/Chemawawin districts remain the region's hotspots for active cases. The Pas' district has 197 active cases, including eight new cases reported Wednesday. Ten more people within the district have recovered from the disease. The other district has seen increasingly high numbers of cases, centred around community spread within Mosakahiken, but active cases within the district have dropped from 77 Tuesday to 75 Wednesday, with another 10 recoveries.
No new public exposures or outbreaks have been listed in northern Manitoba by the provincial government.