Health officials announced 17 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba on Friday, one day after the biggest single-day jump in cases since early April.
Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin confirmed there are now eight cases linked to what he described as a business in Brandon.
Earlier on Friday, the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 832 announced four more workers had tested positive at the Maple Leaf pork processing plant in the city, in addition to four that had been announced on Thursday.
“All cases appear to have contracted the virus outside of the workplace,” Roussin said. “To be clear, there is no evidence of workplace transmission at this time.”
Roussin also said a worker at a Tim Horton’s on 18th Street in Brandon who tested positive was working during the infectious period, but not while symptomatic. That means the risk of transmission is low, Roussin said.
In total, 34 cases of COVID-19 have now been linked to the cluster connected with the Maple Leaf facility. There are also six other cases in Brandon not linked to the cluster.
More to come.
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As more workers at a Brandon, Man., pork processing plant test positive for COVID-19, the province’s chief public health officer is set to give an update on the outbreak.
Dr. Brent Roussin will hold a news conference at 1 p.m. CT. CBC Manitoba will live stream the briefing here.
As of Thursday, 28 people connected with a cluster in Manitoba’s second-largest city had tested positive for the disease caused by the new coronavirus. That included four workers at the local Maple Leaf pork processing plant.
On Friday, the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 832 announced four more workers had tested positive, bringing the total number of confirmed cases at the plant to eight.
None of the eight confirmed cases are among workers on the production line, UFCW said.
The union, along with Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew and Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont, have called for the plant to temporarily close until at least Monday, to allow time for workers to get their test results and for the plant to be deep-cleaned.
Maple Leaf has said there are no plans to halt operations at the plant, which was inspected by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on Thursday.
So far, there is no evidence that infected workers contracted the virus in the plant, Roussin said on Thursday.
Premier Brian Pallister acknowledged the fears workers may have about coming to work at the plant.
“I’m scared, too,” he said during a news conference Friday morning, but added the company has taken all steps requested by public health officials.
“I think that I would say to [the workers] that they deserve to feel confident, because we are following the best health advice that we can get here in Manitoba and we’re going to continue to.”
Thirty new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba were announced Thursday — the second-highest one-day jump in cases since the start of the pandemic.
As of Thursday, there were 118 active cases in Manitoba, and the rolling five-day test positivity rate jumped to 0.9 per cent.
Ten people were in hospital Thursday with COVID-19, including five in intensive care.
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