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Pandemic record for Manitoba: Province reports 560 new COVID-19 cases

WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government reported a record 560 new COVID-19 cases Thursday as the third wave of the pandemic showed no sign of abating.

Even with three earlier cases removed due to data correction, the net increase surpassed the previous high of 546 last November.

“The key challenge we face now, as our numbers have risen, is that we have to get everybody vaccinated and we have to follow the public health rules and shorten the third wave,” Premier Brian Pallister said. The premier spoke before Thursday’s numbers were released.

Other indicators were also pointing to a severe third wave.

The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care remained at a record 62. The percentage of people testing positive, averaged over the previous five days, stood at 12 per cent provincially and 14.4 per cent in Winnipeg.

The three deaths reported Thursday came one day after Manitoba reached a grim milestone of 1,000 dead from COVID-19.

Pallister said he expects the numbers to turn around soon because of tightened public health orders put in place three weeks ago that included smaller caps on public gatherings and shoppers in stores.

The restrictions were later strengthened to further reduce the caps and to ban most social visits in private homes. The latest measure, which took effect Wednesday, shut down in-class learning in schools in Winnipeg and Brandon.

“In the coming week, I expect we’ll begin to see the positive impact of some pretty severe … restrictions we brought into play,” Pallister said.

The Opposition New Democrats urged the government to release more detailed data about the pandemic, including modelling that lays out how infection rates might grow in the future.

“Manitobans have a right to know this information. Why isn’t it released publicly?” NDP Leader Wab Kinew said.

Pallister said Kinew has been given regular briefings by the province’s top health officials, as recently as this week, and has had opportunities to ask for data.

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