A second confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Northern Regional Health Authority (NRHA) area is among 40 new cases of COVID-19 announced by Manitoba Public Health April 2.
There are now 167 probable and confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the province, 130 of them in the Winnipeg area, 15 in the southern region, 11 in the Prairie Mountain region and nine in the Interlake-Eastern Region.
Five people with COVID-19 are currently hospitalized, four of them in intensive care. Eleven people have recovered from their infections since the first positive test in the province was announced March 12 and the number of deaths reported in Manitoba remains at one.
When asked by a reporter about Churchill-Keewatinook Aski NDP MP Niki Ashton saying that she has heard from people in Flin Flon who have possible COVID-19 symptoms or have been around a person with a confirmed case there that they are being turned away at the testing site after being advised by Health Links to get tested, chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said someone who was in contact with a confirmed case and has symptoms should be tested but that people without symptoms should not.
“Testing is available in the north, we receive samples from the north and our testing protocol is the same province wide,” Roussin said.
He also said most cases are identified only by the region where they occurred unless there is a compelling public health reason to warn people who may have been exposed to the virus.
“We don’t feel it’s important to list the specifics of a geographic area where it is because it shouldn’t matter to you,” he said, as everyone should take the same precautions regardless of where they live.
Cadham Provincial Laboratory performed 1,300 tests for the virus April 1 and a total of 11,327 people have been tested in Manitoba.
Three staff members in two Manitoba health care facilities - Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg and Betel Home in Gimli have tested positive for COVID-19. There have been previous cases of COVID-19 among staff at the Selkirk health centre and the St. Boniface Hospital and Grace Hospital in Winnipeg.
Public health officials are investigating an outbreak of respiratory illness among residents at Betel Home in Gimli as a result of the positive COVID-19 test and nine residents are being tested for the cause of their illness, including COVID-19. The home has implemented additional infection prevention and control measures to isolate the affected patients.
Health care workers in patient care roles at hospitals, long-term care facilities, health centres, nursing stations and access centres will soon be required to expand their use of procedure masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) and the province is working to identify and ship needed PPE.
Staff at acute-care and long-term care facilities are undergoing new screening procedures including answering questions about travel history, exposure to positive COVID-19 cases, symptoms of illness and having their temperature taken at the start of their shifts.
Any person concerned about their exposure to or risk of having COVID-19 should call Health Links-Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or toll-free at 1-888-315-9257 to be screened to see if a test is required.