No referral needed to get COVID-19 test starting Thursday

By | May 13, 2020

Manitobans will no longer need a referral from Health LInks to get tested for COVID-19 as of Thursday.

People with symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, fatigue, headaches, nausea or loss of appetite should use the online assessment tool and if they meet the criteria, they should get tested for the virus, Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer for Shared Health, said at a news conference on Wednesday.

“Even those mild symptoms should be tested.”

Siragusa says Health Links was involved in referring patients to be tested in the past because the criteria was strict.

“At the beginning we had very select criteria for who would go and who wouldn’t go for testing,” she said.

The red illustrates the number of active cases of COVID-19 each day in Manitoba, while the black represents cumulative deaths and green is recovered patients. (Jacques Marcoux/CBC)

But that’s changed recently, and the province has increased the capacity to test up to 2,000 people per day. 

It’s “a convenient and practical thing to do” to make it easier for people with symptoms to be tested, she said.

There are no new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said Wednesday.

This bar graph illustrates the ages and sex of COVID-19 patients in Manitoba, with red representing women and girls. (Jacques Marcoux/CBC)

The total confirmed and probable cases in the province remains at 290.

Four people are currently in hospital, including one in intensive care.

There are 32 people who currently have the coronavirus and 251 people have recovered.

This graphic illustrates the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 each day in Manitoba. (Jacques Marcoux/CBC)

An additional 527 tests were done Tuesday, bringing the total number of tests since early February to 31,946.

Roussin has a strong message for those with any symptoms of COVID-19.

The red line illustrates the cumulative total while the grey bars represent daily numbers of new COVID-19 cases. (Jacques Marcoux/CBC)

“No one who’s even mildly ill should be travelling out. It’s very, very important,” he said.

Any Manitobans planning trips to the cabin or cottage during the May long weekend should be careful even if they don’t have symptoms, Roussin said.

“Certainly it’s not back to normal,” he said. “There’s a lot of precautions people still need to take.”

Similarly, anyone hoping to meet up with friends on the weekend needs to plan carefully.

“Meeting up with a couple people outside, physical distancing, that’s a lower risk activity,” he said.

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