Province expands COVID-19 testing as new case reported

By | March 26, 2020

WINNIPEG — Manitoba has expanded who it will test for COVID-19 as another new case was reported in the province.

Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer, announced Thursday morning testing will now include additional groups who are at risk of contracting or spreading the virus and show respiratory symptoms.

The testing now includes healthcare workers and those who live and work in remote or isolated communities or group settings. This includes those in correctional facilities, shelters, long-term care or residential facilities or remote work camps. The testing will also include First Nations communities.

“We’ve discussed testing in the past, and testing is certainly an important component to our overall strategy, but it is just one component of that strategy,” Roussin said. “We test largely to know who to isolate and to perform contact investigations on.”

Symptomatic travellers outside of Manitoba, close contacts of a confirmed case, and lab workers who have worked with COVID-19 tests will continue to be tested, the province said. 

The newest case of COVID-19 is a man in his 20s from Winnipeg.

According to Roussin, there appears to be a link to “a previously announced case of COVID-19” with the newest case, but the province is still working to confirm details.

With this new case, the total number of confirmed and probable positive cases in the province is now 36.

Roussin continued to emphasize the need for physical distancing to help slow the spread of the virus.

“We don’t advise that people only keep their distance from sick people, we are advising that you keep your distance from all people,” he said.

“Stay home when you can, keep that social separation when you’re out in public, limit groups and crowds. These are, all together, the approach that we’re taking.”

All people entering the province, including those coming from other provinces, must self-isolate and monitor for symptoms for 14 days.

Cadham Provincial Laboratory performed 734 tests on Wednesday, bringing the total number of tests in Manitoba to 5,606.

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