Three new northern COVID-19 cases, 173 total new cases, outbreak declared at Thompson YWCA

38th death reported, province averaging one COVID-19 death per day in October

Three new cases of COVID-19 have been found in northern Manitoba, each in remote communities, while the province has posted a new record for new cases for the third straight day.

The province reported one case in the Cross Lake-Pimicikamak district, one case in the Nelson House-Nisichawayasihk district and a third case in the Lynn Lake/Marcel Colomb/O-Pipon-Na-Piwin/Granville Lake district Oct. 15.

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According to provincial government statistics, there are 23 active cases of COVID-19 in northern Manitoba - eight in the Shamattawa/York Factory/Tataskweyak/Split Lake district, five in the Thompson/Mystery Lake district, two each in the Bunibonibee/Oxford House/Manto Sipi/God's River/God's Lake, Island Lake, Lynn Lake and Cross Lake districts and one in the Nelson House district, with another two cases listed as "unknown district".

The YWCA in Thompson has been declared as an outbreak site after five cases of the disease were linked to the facility. According to the province, the YWCA is now considered to be at a "red" level, indicating that community spread linked to the facility is not contained.

In a media briefing Oct. 15, Manitoba chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said the decision to move the facility to a "red" level was due to active transmission of the disease.

"We saw active transmission, so we felt it was a clear outbreak. It's in a setting that puts it at an increased risk of more transmission events - we felt it would be important to declare an outbreak and change it to red," said Roussin when asked by a Thompson Citizen reporter.

"It would limit people going in and out, there would be more isolation going on. We have enhanced testing in that area and enhanced environmental cleaning."

Rules laid out on the provincial pandemic response system website state the province would apply the alert level if one of three conditions, including community transmission of COVID-19, were met.

"The province would consider applying this alert level if... extensive community transmission of COVID-19 is occurring and is not contained... there are widespread outbreaks and new clusters that cannot be controlled through testing and contact tracing... [or] the virus is being transmitted at levels that public health and the health system deem concerning or critical," reads the site. 

Manitoba once again broke its own record for new cases for the third straight day, reporting 173 total new cases Thursday, including 133 cases in Winnipeg. There are currently 1,527 Manitobans with COVID-19, with 25 in hospital and five people in intensive care.

The five-day positivity rate for Manitoba is now at 4.9 per cent, while the rate specificall for Winnipeg, according to provincial health officials, is 5.8 per cent - higher, according to numbers from Johns Hopkins University, than the national average seven-day positivity rate for COVID-19 in the United States.

Another death from COVID-19 was reported in Manitoba Thursday - a man in his 40s from Winkler. The man is the province's 38th death, the 11th person to die from the disease in the past week and 17 deaths so far in October. Roussin said the man had no underlying conditions.

- with files from the Thompson Citizen

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