Health officials announced 13 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba on Saturday, bringing the province’s total to 243.
Eight people are hospitalized, five of whom are in intensive care units.
Chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said as of Saturday, 96 people have recovered from the disease caused by the new coronavirus and four people have died.
That brings the province’s number of active COVID-19 cases to 143.
Roussin said he doesn’t believe any of the new cases are health-care workers, but he said investigations into those cases are still ongoing.
He discouraged people from getting together in person right now, even if they stay the recommended two metres apart.
“I don’t think any large gatherings, even with trying to maintain an appropriate distance, is what we’re looking for now,” Roussin said.
“We’re just in this vital aspect of our curve right now … the best thing we can do is minimize contact with others.”
On Friday, the province’s Cadham lab did 175 tests for COVID-19, bringing the total number of tests done to 16,383.
Manitoba Shared Health chief nursing officer Lanette Siragusa said the past week has been “a wake-up call” for the province as supplies of personal protective equipment across the country are depleted by global pressures.
“Manitoba is no different than any other jurisdiction. Last week was particularly challenging,” she said.
Siragusa said the province is looking to the local business community to produce a new Manitoba-designed reusable mask to replace N95 masks that have been in increasingly short supply.
In a news release on Saturday, the province said the new mask was developed by a team of medical experts at Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre led by plastic surgeon Dr. Christian Petropolis.
The release said the new mask is reusable and as effective as commercially produced N95 masks. It has a silicone base and uses an N95 or higher-grade filter.
Siragusa said health-care workers who show respiratory symptoms can now go directly to test sites, show their ID and immediately be swabbed for COVID-19.
Siragusa said as the province keeps ramping up its efforts to fight COVID-19, she expects the need for volunteers will grow. She said Manitoba will soon be reaching out to volunteer organizations to find people who can help.
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