No new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba; reopening strategy coming Wednesday, health officials say

By | April 28, 2020

Manitoba’s top public health officials say no new cases of COVID-19 have been identified in the province on Tuesday.

The province has now recorded 272 cases of the illness, since the first cases were reported on March 12.

There are 57 active cases, with 209 people having recovered. Seven people are in hospital, including two in intensive care.

The number of deaths in Manitoba due to COVID-19 remains at six.

Manitoba’s “cautious” reopening strategy will be unveiled Wednesday, with measures that will be delivered slowly and carefully, said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin.

“We will let numbers … be our guide,” he said during Tuesday’s daily COVID-19 update.

This chart shows the status of COVID-19 cases in Manitoba up to April 28. (Jacques Marcoux/CBC)

Manitoba has not seen significant community transmission and there have been no outbreaks in personal care homes to date, Roussin said.

He added he does not believe there are “large pockets” where the virus is circulating in the community. If there were, he said, more very sick people would be presenting themselves at hospitals.

Premier Brian Pallister announced earlier Tuesday that Manitoba has expanded COVID-19 testing criteria to anyone showing symptoms. Everyone who has any of the following symptoms — even mild ones — is now eligible for testing:

  • Cough.
  • Runny nose.
  • Sore throat.
  • Fever.

This chart illustrates daily cases (grey) and cumulative cases (red) of COVID-19 in Manitoba up to April 28, 2020. (Jacques Marcoux/CBC)

People still have to go through Health Links in order to be referred for a test. Anyone showing at least two symptoms can be tested, although those showing only one symptom will also be tested if they get referred by a clinician, Roussin said.

Pallister said the increased testing is necessary to give people confidence to go back to work or shop.

The province will nearly triple testing capacity over next few months, going from 1,100 a day currently to 3,000 a day by the end of summer, Pallister said.

Latest local news:

 Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer for Shared Health, gave an update on two COVID-19 isolation centres.

One of them, set up in a hotel, is meant to provide self-isolation spaces for front-line staff and patients who test positive for the illness — as well as any close contacts — but don’t have other safe spaces available to them.

She said 32 people have been referred there and 21 have met the criteria, but only eight have accepted the offer to stay.

Siragusa also provided an update on the isolation centre for homeless people, set up inside a Manitoba Housing block. Eleven people are currently staying there, she said.

The locations of those facilities have not been disclosed.

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