‘We do not want a COVID comeback’: Monitoring of virus will remain important as restrictions eased

By | April 29, 2020

WINNIPEG — Officials with the Province of Manitoba said surveillance of COVID-19 cases will remain important as the province moves ahead with easing health restrictions next week.

Starting on May 4, Manitoba will allow some non-essential businesses to reopen.

READ MORE: Manitoba premier announces plan to reopen the province beginning next week

Premier Brian Pallister, speaking Wednesday morning, said while the restrictions are being eased, it will not be a return to normal

“We must remain vigilant and we must remain committed,” he said. “We do not want a COVID comeback.”

Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief provincial public health officer, released Manitoba’s modelling for COVID-19 Wednesday afternoon, and added the modelling supported the gradual reduction of restrictions.

“Certainly, under 1.5 per cent, we feel is a very low positive test rate, and in fact, over the last five days, ours has been about 0.2 per cent,” he said.

However, Roussin said if the positive test rate increases, it could be concerning.

“Certainly up into the three, four, five per cent, then that’s certainly going to raise some red flags for us,” he said, adding they will also be examining hospital bed and intensive care unit capacity.

Roussin added, “We’re not going to lift any measures until we’re confident that this phase has not adversely affected our response. If we are at all concerned, we have that ability to roll back all or a portion of these loosenings.”

As of Wednesday, Manitoba has reported 273 total cases of COVID-19.

Testing is available to all Manitobans showing symptoms, with the government gradually increasing capacity to perform up to 3,000 tests per day by the summer.

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