Health officials to give update on Manitoba’s coronavirus fight

Health officials in Manitoba will give an update on the province’s ongoing efforts against COVID-19 Friday.

Manitoba’s chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, will be joined by chief nursing officer Lanette Siragusa for a 12:30 p.m. press conference.

Read more: Manitoba sees 10 new coronavirus deaths, 383 new cases reported Thursday

Global News will stream the event live in this story.

On Thursday Manitoba added 383 new cases to its growing case count. Since March, the province has reported 15,288 infections from the coronavirus.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Manitoba’s top doctor says province saw 70% of total deaths in November alone' Coronavirus: Manitoba’s top doctor says province saw 70% of total deaths in November alone

Coronavirus: Manitoba’s top doctor says province saw 70% of total deaths in November alone

Ten additional deaths were also announced Thursday, bringing the province’s death toll to 266.

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Daily new infections have averaged between 300 and 500 for the last few weeks. Roussin has for weeks been saying the pressures on the health-care system are unsustainable.

Read more: Yes, many COVID-19 patients have underlying conditions. But that shouldn’t be the focus, Dr. Roussin says

As of Thursday, a record-setting 307 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Manitoba, with 46 in intensive care.

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Provincewide public health orders came into effect on Nov. 12 closing indoor service for restaurants and bars and banning people from having guests over, except for a few exceptions. It also mandates mask use in all indoor public health areas.

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Coronavirus: Manitoba’s top doctor says work being done on vaccine rollout, but no specifics yet

Health officials have said the restrictions would last at least four weeks, leaving the possibility they could be loosened before the holiday season. On Thursday, however, Roussin cautioned that people should keep their holiday plans within their family unit.

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“This is not going to be a normal holiday season,” Roussin said.

Read more: Hundreds of City of Winnipeg employees face temporary layoffs under coronavirus closures

The five-day test positivity rate was 14.8 per cent both in Winnipeg and across the province Thursday, according to the province.

While provincial data showed Manitoba had 8,845 active cases of COVID-19 as of Thursday, Roussin said the number is likely closer to 3,251 due to an ongoing backlog in contact tracing efforts.

–With files from The Canadian Press

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

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