WINNIPEG — Manitoba has one new probable case of COVID-19 (coronavirus) as of Monday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 204.
Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, says 11 people remain in hospital — seven of which are in intensive care.
Seventeen people have recovered from COVID-19, while two people have died.
Cadham Provincial Laboratory performed 458 tests Sunday. As of April 6, a total of 13,476 tests have been performed.
Easter/Passover gatherings discouraged
Manitoba health officials are discouraging any family gatherings this weekend, such as for Easter and Passover. They say now is not the time to let your guard down having a group celebration.
“Working together to maintain social distancing and staying at home unless you have to go out are the only ways to slow the spread and flatten the curve of COVID-19,” the province said in a release.
Officials are also advising people to remain within or close to their home communities. This includes limiting travel, even within Manitoba, to essential trips only. Services at smaller health centres could be strained if seasonal visitors become ill.
New COVID-19 penalties?
The Manitoba government is hinting at new penalties for people who don’t practise social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Premier Brian Pallister says some people are not following guidelines in parks and other areas, and Manitobans expect there to be consequences.
He says the province is reviewing the constitutionality of some options and will have more to say later this week.
Dr. Brent Roussin says nothing is off the table in terms of possible new enforcement measures, and the province is looking at bringing in workers from other areas of government to help out.
In Nova Scotia, many parks and other public areas have been closed, and police in Halifax have issued dozens of tickets to people suspected of breaking the rules.
To wear a mask or not?
Dr. Brent Roussin says wearing a non-medical mask may prove to be beneficial to people who are asymptomatic and could potentially reduce the spread of COVID-19 to others. The change in advice comes after Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said Monday people who don’t have symptoms of the virus can wear non-medical masks when in public as “an additional measure” to protect other people.
Dr. Roussin added he doesn’t want masks to become a distraction or for the non-medical facial covering to provide people with a false sense of security when leaving their homes. He said the best advice is to stay home or to maintain social distancing if you have to go out. Dr. Roussin also said the surgical-grade N95 masks should be left for medical professionals and front-line health-care workers.
Any person concerned about their exposure to or risk of having COVID-19 should call Health Links — Info Santé at (204) 788-8200 or at 1-888-315-9257 to be screened to see if a test is required.
Watch Monday’s COVID-19 media briefing:
Further information on COVID-19 can be found at Manitoba.ca/covid19.
— With files from The Canadian Press