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Opposition Calls for COVID-19 Aid as Manitoba Case Numbers Continue to Climb

January 10, 2022 4:22 PM | The Canadian Press

By Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press

Wab Kinew

Manitoba opposition NDP leader Wab Kinew speaks during question period at the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg, Wednesday, May 6, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)

WINNIPEG — Manitoba continued to see a climb in COVID-19 hospitalizations Monday as gathering limits remained in place and students started a week of remote learning.

Health officials reported 378 people in hospital with the virus — an increase of 81 from the last time data was publicly released on Friday. The number of those patients in intensive care grew slightly, to 38 from 34, and there were 19 additional deaths.

The province also announced thousands of new cases over the weekend.

Hospitals continued to operate at above-normal capacity. There were 93 total patients in intensive care, including people who did not have COVID-19. The normal capacity before the pandemic was 72.

To try to slow the spread, the Progressive Conservative government said last week that it would extend public health restrictions, including capacity limits in many indoor places, another three weeks to Feb. 1.

Schools were originally supposed to reopen this week after an extended holiday break, but the province moved classes to remote learning for most students to allow time for masks and rapid tests to be more widely distributed. In-person learning is to resume next Monday.

The Opposition New Democrats urged the province to give families one-time payments to help cover the cost of remote schooling.

“Perhaps a family has some challenges around needing access to a new (electronic) device or maybe you need a subscription for a learning technology,” NDP Leader Wab Kinew said.

The payments could be worth $500 per child, or $750 for special needs children, Kinew suggested. The cash would be available to any family regardless of income and would cost the province roughly $70 million, depending on uptake, he said.

“Whatever needs that your family has to get through this remote learning period and then back into the classroom, we think that it’s important for government to be there with some assistance.”

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