COVID-19: Manitoba confirms second case of P.1 variant, first reported in Brazil

Manitoba health officials say a second case of the highly-contagious  COVID-19 P.1 variant has been confirmed in the province.

The variant, first detected in Brazil, was found through further testing of a previously announced COVID-19 case from the Interlake-Eastern health region, according to data released on the province’s website Tuesday.

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Manitoba announced its first case of the P.1 variant had been discovered in the Interlake-Eastern region last Thursday. The latest case appears to be a close contact of that case, which officials have said was linked to non-essential travel.

Both P.1 cases are listed as still active on the province’s website, which shows Manitoba’s total number of variants of concern jumped 63 cases to 774 Tuesday.

According to provincial data, the vast majority of the variants — 676 — are the B.1.1.7 strain first identified in the United Kingdom, 20 are the B.1.351 variant first found in South Africa, and 77 are as yet unspecified.

In all, the province says 238 variant cases remain active and two Manitobans have died linked to variants of concern.

Another death, 211 new cases

The latest variants come as health officials say another Manitoban with COVID-19 has died and 211 new infections have been identified.

The case count is the highest daily list of COVID-19 cases seen in Manitoba since mid-winter.

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Manitoba’s latest victim is a woman in her 90s from the Prairie Mountain health region linked to an outbreak at Russell Health Centre.

She’s the 960th Manitoban to die in connection with the virus.

Tuesday’s new cases bring the total number of lab-confirmed cases in the province to 36,470 after health officials said eight previously announced cases were removed due to a data correction.

Of the new cases, the majority (138) are in the Winnipeg health region, with 27 in Prairie Mountain, 25 in the Northern region, 14 in Interlake-Eastern, and seven in the Southern health region. In all there are 1,783 active COVID-19 cases across the province, according to health data.

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The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 6 per cent provincially and 6.3 per cent in Winnipeg.

Health officials declared an end to outbreaks at Grassroots Early Learning and Child Care centre in Thompson, Stony Mountain Institution, and at the Flin Flon Personal Care Home.

As of Tuesday morning, health officials said there are 66 people in hospital with active COVID-19 as well as 66 who are no longer infectious but continue to require care, for a total of 132 hospitalizations.

There are 18 people in intensive care units with active COVID-19 as well as 15 who are no longer infectious but continue to require critical care for a total of 33 ICU patients.

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Laboratory testing numbers show 2,194 tests were completed Monday, bringing the total number of lab tests completed since early February 2020 to 627,113.

Manitoba announced 108 new cases and no additional deaths from the virus on Monday.

— With files from Shane Gibson

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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