COVID-19 admissions to Manitoba hospitals now rising more slowly

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The latest wave of COVID-19 in Manitoba appears to be leveling off.

The increase in COVID-19 patients admitted to hospital in Manitoba last week was lower than the previous week, suggesting this latest wave of the pandemic may have peaked.

The latest epidemiological report from Manitoba Public Health says 188 COVID patients were admitted to hospital in the week of April 17 to 23. That’s up four patients from the weekend April 16, when there were 184.

The report also says 12 COVID patients were admitted to intensive care wards last week, a drop of 10 ICU admissions from the week ending April 16, when there were 22.

That’s a marked improvement from the previous trend. There were 26 more hospital admissions and three more ICU admissions in the weekend April 16 than in the weekend April 9 (when there were 158 and 19).

The chief provincial public health officer says the slowing growth of hospital admissions, coupled with static wastewater indicators of the presence of the coronavirus in Winnipeg, suggests the current wave of the pandemic may be leveling off.

“If we look at our wastewater, if we look at some of those admissions, we’re seeing what might be an early plateau,” he said.

“It’s difficult to predict what what will occur here, but getting into the hopefully nicer weather soon, into spring, seeing some of those indicators of a plateau does bring some optimism.”

The number of people dying from COVID-19 has yet to drop off. Thirteen Manitobans died of COVID-19 during the week ending April 16, up from 12 the previous week.

A total of 1,792 Manitobans have died of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

While the admission numbers appear to be flattening, Manitoba hospitals are still caring for a significant number of COVID-19 patients while dealing with staff absences, partly due to COVID infection.

Internal data obtained by CBC News said 579 COVID-19 patients were in Manitoba hospitals on Wednesday, an increase of 41 patients since April 19.

Of those patients, 28 were in intensive care, up two from the previous week.

On Friday, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority CEO Mike Nader told employees via email a high number of COVID patients at hospitals in the city were contributing to long wait times at emergency wards.

Nader elaborated on Monday, saying patient flow in hospitals has been disrupted by the need to isolate infectious patients, outfit staff in protective equipment and keep patients in emergency wards longer while they wait for COVID test results.

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