The number of cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba continues to rise, with 24 new cases announced April 1.
There are now a total of 127 probable and confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the province. One person has died from the virus, while four people were in hospital Wednesday, three of them in intensive care. Four people are listed as having recovered from COVID-19.
More than 80 per cent of the confirmed and probable cases of the virus are in the Winnipeg area to this point, 104 in total. None of the other four health regions in the province has a case count above single digits, with nine in the Prairie Mountain Health Region, eight in the southern region, five in the Interlake-Eastern Region and only one so far in the north.
Chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said the number of cases in a person’s area shouldn’t affect people’s judgement.
“That type of information should not change your behaviour right now” he said, noting that the peak of the pandemic is still a ways off for Manitoba. “We’re likely to see more cases daily.”
In addition to a case involving a health care worker in Selkirk that was previously announced, staff at St. Boniface Hospital and Grace Hospital in Winnipeg have also tested positive for COVID-19, which means health-care workers at acute and long-term care health facilities will begin having their temperatures taken and being asked about their travel history and symptoms of illness when they arrive to work, said Manitoba’s chief nursing officer Lanette Siragusa.
“Staff must stay home if they are ill even if their symptoms are mild,” she said.
Roussin said the public health department is starting to see evidence of transmission among people who have no recent travel history and have no known connection to any confirmed cases.
“Community-based transmission is going to be inevitable,” Roussin said.
The chief public health officer said the province has already instituted many measures that might not normally be put in place until community-based transmission starts to show up.
“This early community-based transmission may not change a lot of what we do,” he said.
He also reiterated that there is no reason for members of the public to wear masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus and that protective equipment will be needed to protect health care workers
“We’re going to need to protect our health care workers,” Roussin said. “Our health care workers are vital to our response.”