Forty-two new cases of COVID-19 were announced in Manitoba on Saturday, marking the province’s highest single-day increase in new cases of the illness.
The previous record of 40 new cases was reached twice: first on April 2 and again on Aug. 14.
Twenty-four of Saturday’s new cases are in the southwestern Prairie Mountain Health region, the province said in a news bulletin. Starting Monday, people in that area will have to wear masks in public places and restrict gathering sizes to 10.
Those new restrictions come as the province moves the southwestern Manitoba region to the orange, or “restricted,” level in Manitoba’s new colour-coded pandemic response system. Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin made that announcement on Thursday.
That region also includes Brandon, which is the site of a COVID-19 cluster that had reached 66 known cases as of Thursday. Seventy employees at the city’s Maple Leaf Foods pork-processing plant have also tested positive for the illness as of Friday. At least 21 of the cases are linked to the Brandon cluster.
The province did not say whether the new cases in the region announced Saturday are linked to a cluster.
Another 16 of the new cases announced Saturday are in the Southern Health region while two are in the Winnipeg health region, the bulletin said.
The update brings the total number of active cases in the province to 290.
The test positivity rate is now 1.8 per cent, down slightly from two per cent on Friday. That rate represents a rolling five-day average of the percentage of COVID-19 tests done in Manitoba that come back positive for the illness.
Six people in Manitoba are in hospital with the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, including one in intensive care, the bulletin said.
Twelve people with the illness have died in the province, including four in the last seven days.
To date, there have been 872 cases of COVID-19 identified in Manitoba and 570 people have recovered.
A new COVID-19 test site will open in Winnipeg on Tuesday at 2735 Pembina Hwy., the bulletin said. That site will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Because the new site is opening, the one at Access Fort Garry, at 135 Plaza Dr., will be closed after 4 p.m. Monday.
On Friday, 1,849 tests for the illness were conducted in Manitoba, bringing the total number done in the province since early February to 124,140.
Public health officials are still asking people to get tested for COVID-19 only if they have symptoms of the illness and to do it as soon as possible once those symptoms appear.
Meanwhile, employers are being asked to send employees for testing only if they are symptomatic or if testing has been recommended by public health officials.