By The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — Manitoba is marking another day with surging COVID-19 cases as health officials say disruptions in the supply chain of vaccines means that there will be a delay in hitting a major milestone.
“Our health system is facing critical pressures that is not sustainable,” Dr. Jazz Atwal, the province’s deputy chief provincial public health officer, said Friday.
There were 493 new cases of COVID-19 and no additional deaths.
There were also 312 hospitalizations and 69 patients in intensive care. Another 26 Manitobans were in intensive care in other provinces.
Atwal said the continued high number of infections means even more people are expected to end up in hospital.
The province has posted the highest daily case numbers, per capita, in the country for more than a week.
Slightly tightened public health orders that encourage employers to have people work from home and require malls to enforce capacity were to come into effect at midnight.
Atwal said there is hope because more and more people are getting vaccinated.
“It’s dark right now, I get it,” he said. “But there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”
A team in charge of vaccine distribution in the province, however, said Manitoba will not meet its goal to have 70 per cent of people aged 12 and up vaccinated by June 9.
Johanu Botha, who is on the team, said the province will probably hit that benchmark at the end of June.
“It’s the bookend. It could likely happen before,” Botha added.
The province is getting significantly less of the Moderna vaccine than expected and deliveries have been delayed, Botha said.
He said the amount of people getting first doses is also levelling off — even as the province faces significant infection numbers.
The province has begun to open second-dose appointments and Botha said officials still expect Manitobans will be able to get fully vaccinated by the end of July.