Northwestern Ontario residents warned of risks of travel to Manitoba

By | September 1, 2020

WINNIPEG — Health officials in northwestern Ontario are advising residents of the possible risks of travelling to Manitoba, as case numbers continue to surge.

Dr. Kit Young Hoon, the medical officer of health for the Northwestern Health Unit, said the health unit is monitoring the situation in Manitoba as a whole, and in each specific health region.

She said when deciding whether to travel, people need to weigh if the benefit is worth the risk.

“We are advising that people should be aware of the risk in Manitoba when they’re travelling to Manitoba,” she said.

Young Hoon added that whether she would advise against travel to Manitoba depends on the purpose of someone’s trip.

“Some people could be travelling into Manitoba for healthcare services and that’s obviously very important,” she said.

“So I wouldn’t necessarily discourage travel against important things like healthcare services or if you really feel like you need that social connection with a specific individual or group of individuals in Manitoba, that’s important.”

She said residents travelling to Manitoba should remember to follow the recommended public health measures, such as physical distancing, proper hand hygiene, avoiding face touching, wearing a mask/face covering and staying home when sick. She also added they should avoid riskier situations such as public transit and large events where physical distancing may be difficult.

Young Hoon noted that anyone who feels they’ve been in a situation that’s put them at an increased risk for the virus might want to consider a 14-day self-isolation period.

As for whether Manitobans can go to northern Ontario, Young Hoon said, as of now, there are no specific recommendations for Manitobans travelling into the region, other than following the usual public health measures.

“I think at this point everyone should be aware that we’re trying to keep transmission low and staying in Stage 3,” she said.

She reminded Manitobans that there’s a mandatory mask policy for enclosed public spaces in northern Ontario, with some exemptions.

To date, the Northwestern Health Unit has had 46 cases of COVID-19, with two active cases at this time.

“We’ve had very few cases throughout the summer, so our cases numbers are very low and at this time,” Young Hoon said.

“There’s no significant evidence that there’s transmission occurring within the Northwestern Health Unit.”

Young Hoon added the region is hoping not to see any substantial increase in cases that would require it to move from Stage 3 of reopening. 

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