Province asking Manitobans to postpone travel outside of province amid pandemic

By | March 22, 2020

WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s total number of cases of COVID-19 remains at 19, but the province’s chief public health officer is asking residents to consider limiting travel outside of Manitoba to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We strongly are advising Manitobans to cancel or postpone any trips, certainly outside of Canada, but this advice is strongly given to cancelling or postponing trips outside of Manitoba as well,” said Dr. Brent Roussin Sunday morning.

“Now is the time for social distancing, now is not the time for, certainly, non-essential travel.”

The 19 cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba is unchanged from Saturday. Of those cases, 11 have been confirmed positive, with eight cases being listed as probable positive.

In one of the cases, Roussin says the patient arrived in Manitoba from British Columbia, though the majority of cases from have come from international travel.

Manitoba has been under a state of emergency since Friday, which limits gatherings to 50 people or less.

Roussin says all international travellers are required to practice physical distancing for 14 days when they return to Manitoba.

“This does not mean going to the grocery store, doing shopping. This means self-isolating at home, monitoring for symptoms, and calling Health Link should they arise,” he said.

An updated flight list for flights with COVID-19 cases on them can be found here.

HEALTH LINKS RECEIVES RECORD CALL VOLUME

A total of 2,300 calls were made to Health Link on Saturday, according to Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer for Manitoba Shared Health.

“The average wait time for those calls was 37 minutes,” she said.

The online self-assessment tool has received more than 220,000 web views since launching Tuesday, including 30,000 on Saturday.

Siragusa says 242 Manitobans visited the 11 community testing sites across the province Saturday, bringing the total to 3,600 since they opened. More sites will open in the coming days.

During the press conference, Roussin says the province is currently testing people who have returned from international trips who have respiratory illnesses, and who have called Health Links.

“Those who are asymptomatic, those without respiratory symptoms, there is no need to be tested,” he said.

Roussin says the decision is to ensure their lab capacity is used efficiently. He adds plans are underway to increase the capacity.

 

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