Winnipeg school, health-care facilities hit by COVID-19, as Manitoba’s adds 17 new cases

By | September 15, 2020

There are 17 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba on Tuesday, health officials say, with news of another case of COVID-19 at a school and three more at health-care facilities in Winnipeg.

A person who was at St. Aidan’s Christian School in downtown Winnipeg on Thursday and Friday has tested positive for COVID-19, the daily provincial bulletin says.

The person was asymptomatic and followed all public health measures that were put in place at the school, the province said in its Tuesday news release. Parents, staff and students were notified of the possible exposure and the school was being cleaned.

People who are close contacts of the person have been identified, contacted and advised to self-isolate. Others who were at the site do not need to self-isolate, but should self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, the release says. 

The school’s colour-coded pandemic response level is not being elevated, given the limited number of contacts identified. 

Most of the new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba reported Tuesday were in people under 40. (Jacques Marcoux/CBC)

Three more health-care workers at facilities in Winnipeg also tested positive for COVID-19.

Workers at Deer Lodge Centre, Actionmarguerite and St. Amant have all tested positive for the coronavirus, the facilities posted on their respective websites Monday and Tuesday.

On Tuesday, an outbreak was declared at St. Amant after a worker in health and transition services tested positive for COVID-19. The person works nights and was last there on Thursday.

St. Amant — an organization that has a residential unit and child care for people who have developmental disabilities and autism — is suspending all admissions, rescheduling respite stays and restricting visitation.

Close contacts have been identified and are self-monitoring or self-isolating, depending on the level of contact, said Sarah Mankelow, St. Amant’s director of health and transition services.

“We’ve been preparing for this for the last six months. So right now the risk has been deemed low … and we’re in a watch-and-wait situation right now,” Mankelow said.

The case was among those previously identified, the province said Tuesday.

Thirteen of the 17 new cases on Tuesday are in the Winnipeg health region, the province says. (Jacques Marcoux/CBC)

Outbreak protocols were also implemented on Monday at the Actionmarguerite location on Despins Street after a worker in the special needs behavioural unit tested positive. That person was last at the personal care home on Thursday but only worked with nine residents, the website says.

Actionmarguerite and St. Amant are moving to the critical level — the red level — on the province’s pandemic response system.

Deer Lodge Centre’s chief operating officer, Kevin Scott, posted on the centre’s website Monday that a worker in the Lodge 6 unit at the personal care home tested positive.

“There’s always a certain level of concern,” he told CBC News on Tuesday. “We’ve been responding to phone calls as well as having direct conversations for the affected unit. The phone calls and meetings happened right away on Monday with family members and others, and so we’ve been able to respond to address concerns and questions.”

Scott says the employee was asymptomatic at work, wore personal protective equipment while providing care and hasn’t been in the building for a week, which is why no outbreak procedure was initiated.

Even so, there’s enhanced cleaning throughout the facility, staff in the affected unit are being screened twice a day and residents are being tested if they show any symptoms.

Nobody else has tested positive at this point, Scott confirmed.

The red illustrates the number of active cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba, while the green represents recovered cases. (Jacques Marcoux/CBC)

Deer Lodge Centre provides rehabilitation services, mental health care and dementia care. It includes inpatient programming, outpatient clinics and residential care.

Outside of Winnipeg, another health-care worker connected to the outbreak at Bethesda Place in Steinbach has tested positive, the provincial news release says. Fourteen cases have now been identified in the Bethesda Place outbreak, including eight staff and six residents.

However, only two cases — one nurse and one resident — are currently active, according to Cheryl Harrison, the western executive director for the Southern Health region. Two residents are currently in hospital, but one has recently been cleared to return to Bethesda Place.

Harrison says the nurse wasn’t working during the infectious period.

Of the 17 new cases identified on Tuesday, 13 are in Winnipeg, two are in the Southern Health region, one is in the Prairie Mountain Health region and one is in the Interlake-Eastern Health region.

St. Amant is suspending all admissions, rescheduling respite stays and restricting visitation after a worker tested positive for COVID-19. (CBC)

Sagkeeng First Nation has also reported a member tested positive for the novel coronavirus and the community is now in lockdown. It’s the fourth COVID-19 case on a First Nation in the province.

Peguis First Nation reported two cases last week, and Fisher River Cree Nation reported one. Both communities set up rapid testing stations for close contacts and those experiencing symptoms.

There are 269 active cases in the province and 1,181 individuals have recovered from COVID-19.

The five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 1.4 per cent.

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