Chief public health officer recommends cancelling large-scale events involving more than 250 people

Hockey games cancelled and conference scheduled for Thompson postponed due to coronavirus worries

The first positive test for coronavirus in Manitoba has been confirmed by testing at a national lab, chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said at a press conference March 13.

He also said that available evidence indicates that only people showing symptoms of the virus are infectious but he is recommending that large-scale gatherings involving more than 250 people be cancelled. 

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“That’s an example of someone doing their part” to help lessen the spread of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, he said. “Together we can lessen the impact of this virus on our province.”

Roussin also said people planning to travel internationally may wish to reconsider as it is likely that by the time they return they will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

Multiple events have been cancelled in Thompson for the upcoming weekend, including a novice hockey tournament and a Keystone Junior Hockey League playoff game, after Hockey Manitoba cancelled all its sanctioned activities in response to the virus. 

The Thompson Pentecostal Assembly said on Facebook that greets will not be shaking people’s hands at Sunday services and the offering plate will not be passed around. They also advised anyone not feeling well to stay home, as their second service is live-streamed on YouTube every week.

Civilian fingerprinting and criminal record checks at the Thompson RCMP detachment have been suspended indefinitely, said Staff Sgt. Chris Hastie. 

The School District of Mystery Lake (SDML) advised parents that water fountains will be shut down at Thompson schools but that water bottle filling stations will be available and that students should bring a reusable water bottle to school with them if possible and take it home every night to be washed. School custodians are wiping down surfaces used by many people such as desks and tables, doorknobs and light switches, and parents are being asked to keep their child home from school if they are not feeling well. Schools will also be monitoring staff and students for signs of illness and contacting parents and guardians if concerning symptoms are detected. SDML band students in Dauphin for the honour band trip will be returning to Thompson around 4:30 p.m. March 14 after the Mountain View School Division cut the festival short.

Perimeter Aviation says it is implementing additional sanitation procedures for its aircraft and public areas and also removing non-essential reading materials from seatback pockets.

University College of the North is rescheduling its Linkages North: Tools for Economic Growth conference, which was to have been held April1-2 to an as-yet-determined future date.

Skate Thompson said it is still offering its regular programming but asking participants with cold or flu-like symptoms to stay home.

The Northern Regional Health Authority told the Flin Flon Reminder that the region has a plan and protocols in place to deal with the coronavirus.

“We are working with the province on a co-ordinated response to the COVID -19 situation,” an NRHA spokesperson said in a statement. “Information is being regularly shared with our clinical leaders, health care providers and front-line staff. This also includes looking at our infection prevention and control processes and procedures, as well as ways to help prevent residents from getting ill.”

“The best way people can prepare and prevent getting sick is to wash their hands regularly and thoroughly,  use hand sanitizer frequently, cover coughs and sneezes, and stay home if feeling sick,” said the spokesperson, adding that sharing “well sourced information… and dissuading residents from believing everything they read on social media” would also assist.

For more information about the coronavirus from the NRHA and the Manitoba and federal governments, visit https://northernhealthregion.com/,  https://www.gov.mb.ca/health/coronavirus/ and https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/symptoms.html.

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