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Manitoba Extending Closure of Non-Critical Businesses; Four New COVID-19 Cases Reported

April 13, 2020 4:45 PM | News

Closed SignWINNIPEG — Non-critical businesses in Manitoba will have to remain closed until at least April 28, as the province extended orders under the Public Health Act on Monday to slow the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

The public health orders issued on March 30 were set to expire on Tuesday.

The province is preparing to announce more orders this week, which may include limiting the size of gatherings further.

Under the orders, public gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people at any indoor or outdoor place or premises, including places of worship, gatherings and family events such as weddings and funerals. This does not apply to a facility where health-care or social services are provided including child-care centres and homeless shelters.

All restaurants and other commercial facilities that serve food are prohibited from serving food to customers in their premises. This prevents eat-in dining at all facilities. However, restaurants and other commercial facilities can prepare and serve food for delivery or takeout. If this takes place, the operator of the restaurant must ensure that all people maintain the appropriate social distancing from other customers when picking up food.

All businesses that are not listed in the schedule of critical services that accompany the order must remain closed, including salons, spas and fitness facilities.

Four new cases

Dr. Brent Roussin

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba chief public health officer, speaks during the province’s COVID-19 update at the Manitoba legislature in Winnipeg Tuesday, March 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Manitoba health officials have reported four new probable cases of COVID-19, bringing the provincial total to 246.

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, says eight people remain in hospital, including four people in intensive care.

Five people have died, while 99 people have recovered from the virus. There are currently 143 active cases.

“We are still early in this outbreak, but these numbers show that our efforts are having some benefit,” Roussin said.

He cautioned that although the number is low compared with other provinces, that does not mean there’s a diminished risk.

Cadham Provincial Laboratory performed 32 tests Sunday. A total of 17,245 tests have been performed since early February.

Manitoba will validate new Spartan Cube test

Paul Lem - Spartan Bioscience

Spartan Bioscience Inc. CEO Paul Lem holds one of his company’s COVID-19 portable, rapid testing devices in a handout photo. Health Canada has approved the use of the device for testing for COVID-19. The Spartan Cube from Ottawa’s Spartan Bioscience is expected to help provide rapid tests in rural and remote areas such as Indigenous communities. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Spartan Bioscience Inc.)

The province will begin validating the new rapid Spartan Cube COVID-19 test on Tuesday. The test, developed by Ottawa’s Spartan Bioscience, was approved by Health Canada over the weekend.

The hand-held device, about the size of a coffee cup, eliminates the need for swab samples to travel to the nearest lab, which can be a logistical challenge.

The federal, Alberta and Ontario governments are among those who have contracts for the testing kits, which can confirm results in less than one hour.

Spartan says the test, in which either the nose or throat is swabbed, can be operated by non-laboratory personnel in a variety of locales such as airports, border crossings, doctors’ offices, pharmacies and clinics.

Initial tests in the province will occur at an acute care facility in Winnipeg.

Brandon test site moving

The community testing site in Brandon is moving to a new drive-thru location. Starting Tuesday afternoon, the site will be located at the Brandon Town Centre, 800 Rosser Avenue. The public is asked to enter from Eighth Street on the P1 level of the centre’s parkade. Regular hours for the relocated Brandon site will resume Wednesday, operating daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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 media briefing:

YouTube video

Further information on COVID-19 can be found at Manitoba.ca/covid19.

— With files from The Canadian Press