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261 new COVID-19 cases, 2 deaths in Manitoba on Thursday | CBC News

There are 261 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba on Thursday and two more people have died from the illness, the province says.

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Health officials in Manitoba will give the latest details about COVID-19 in the province in a conference call Thursday afternoon.

Dr. Jazz Atwal, Manitoba’s acting deputy chief public health officer, and Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer for Shared Health, will answer questions from reporters when the province’s latest COVID-19 data is released at 12:30 p.m. There will be no video.

That update will come as Manitoba’s high COVID-19 numbers continue to drop.

On Wednesday, the province reported another daily case tally below 200 and its lowest test positivity rate since early November.

But Atwal urged people not to let those “encouraging” numbers allow them to let their guards down.

“If we let up now, all the hard work for the past several weeks could be for nothing,” he said. 

“We could be back to where we started in November,” when daily case counts regularly surpassed 300 and the province’s test positivity rate soared to its highest point to date.

Cases in some northern Manitoba communities are on the rise, with Lynn Lake and Thompson hit especially hard, Atwal said.

The province’s COVID-19 testing and vaccination capacity are to expand further on Monday, with a vaccination supersite opening in Brandon and a rapid testing site for some school staff taking appointments in Winnipeg.

Schools with grades 7 and 8 have a choice between full-time classes or providing blended remote and in-class learning for those students when a mandated two-week at-home learning period for Grade 7 and up ends Monday.

Most high school students were already shifted to blended learning, which will resume starting Monday.

Meanwhile, Manitoba’s COVID-19 vaccine task force said every Manitoban who wants the shot could get it by the end of April if the province had enough doses.

That projection still falls a month short of a claim Premier Brian Pallister made last week.

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