Manitoba has broken the kind of records no province wants to break, seeing its highest numbers yet of new COVID-19 cases and active cases Sunday.
The province reported 51 new cases over the weekend - 16 new cases Saturday and 35 new cases Sunday. The 35 cases found Sunday is the highest one-day increase in cases Manitoba has reported during the pandemic.
Most of the cases are centred around Prairie Mountain Health and Southern Health-Sante Sud, with Prairie Mountain reporting 32 cases in a two-day period and Southern Health finding 14. The remainder were found in Winnipeg, with one case coming from the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority.
As of August 9, Manitoba now has 182 active cases of COVID-19, its highest level yet during the pandemic. Since the pandemic started, 542 people in Manitoba have tested positive for COVID-19.
The province provided a pair of now-rare weekend briefings on COVID-19 due to the spike in numbers, which mostly appear to be linked to clusters in the two prominent health regions. Cases have been linked to some Brandon-area businesses, including a Maple Leaf meat processing plant and a Tim Hortons located on the Trans-Canada Highway.
Seven new cases from Sunday were linked to a Brandon-area business according to Manitoba chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin, though he did not identify the business.
"The cases are currently self-isolating and contact tracing is underway. At this time, there continues to be no evidence of workplace transmission, but case investigations are continuing," Roussin said in an August 9 media briefing.
Despite the links, some new cases in the community appeared to not be directly linked to those known outbreaks. New cases are under investigation.
"While many of today's cases appear to be linked to existing clusters in southern and western Manitoba, notably Brandon, or are close contacts of previously known cases, preliminary information suggests that there may be a small number of cases with unknown aquisition in these areas. Case investigations are ongoing," said Roussin.
Six people are in Manitoba hospitals with COVID-19, with three of those people in intensive care. Eight people have died due to COVID-19 in Manitoba.
"Many Manitobans are very anxious at this time and that is to be expected. We can recall that we've been here before and we never have been helpless against this virus. We have concrete steps that we can take to reduce our risk and we've done them - most of us have continued to do them as time goes on, but we have to get back to our focus on those fundamentals," Roussin said.
The province is planning to change its existing information release plans, giving more information about where individual cases of COVID-19 are found. Instead of breaking down new cases into Manitoba’s six health regions - some of which span hundreds of thousands of square kilometres - results will soon be broken down by health districts, smaller subgroups of health regions.
“Health districts are administrative zones within each regional health authority. This will allow us to break down case numbers in more detail, while continuing to ensure the privacy of Manitobans. We expect that this more detailed information will be available later this week on the provincial COVID-19 dashboard,” Roussin said.
Saskatchewan’s recent spike in COVID-19 cases has started to slow.
The province reported 39 new cases over the weekend. On August 8, 24 new cases were found within Saskatchewan, with 11 in Regina, five in south central, three each in the north central and Saskatoon regions and one in the south west.
Another 15 cases were reported August 9, with five cases in Regina, three in south west and south central regions and one each in Saskatoon and central west areas.
No new cases were reported in any of the three far north regions.
Along with the new cases were several recoveries - 36 in total, with 24 August 8 and another 12 a day later.
Thirteen people in Saskatchewan are in hospital due to COVID-19 - six people are in intensive care. The province now has 168 active cases and has reported 1,445 people with COVID-19 during the pandemic.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) has warned of several possible exposure events in Regina and Saskatoon. Someone who tested positive for COVID-19 was possibly contagious while attending the Walmart in Grasslands between 11:15 a.m.-11:45 a.m. August 5, while another person who tested positive was at the Albert Street South Superstore at Golden Mile from 7:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Another person with COVID-19 was at a Superstore on Rochdale Boulevard from 6 p.m.-7 p.m. August 5, while another person who tested positive for COVID-19 was at the Harbour Landing Walmart July 29 from 9 a.m.-9:30 a.m. and the Bismillah Halal Meat and Groceries store from 8:15 p.m.-8:30 p.m. and Golden Mile Superstore from 8:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. July 30. Anyone who attended those businesses during those times is asked to self-monitor for symptoms for two weeks and contact HealthLine 811 if common COVID-19 symptoms present.