‘It’s concerning’: Manitoba doctor calls for circuit breaker lockdown to lower COVID-19 cases

WINNIPEG –

Rising COVID-19 case counts in Manitoba have some calling on the province to implement additional health restrictions.

On Friday, Manitoba’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, updated Manitobans about the latest COVID-19 case numbers.

“I want to share with you today that we’re going to be reporting nearly 750 cases today, which is an all-time record in Manitoba,” said Roussin.

Aleeza Gerstein, an assistant professor of microbiology and statistics at the University of Manitoba, is an expert in how mutations arise and spread in the population.

She said she could see this uptick in cases coming.

“As soon as those cases started ticking up, especially in Winnipeg where we have a really high vaxed population. It’s concerning because looking at Omicron numbers from other places, you could see how sharply that exponential curve rose.”

Gerstein believes the province has waited too long to implement additional measures to slow the spread of the virus and said a circuit breaker lockdown is needed.

“Nobody wants a circuit breaker lockdown, no one wants to be told to stay in their house and cancel their plans, but there’s no reason to expect we’re going to be able to turn down the case counts with anything less,” said Gerstein.

Manitoba wouldn’t be the first in Canada to implement a circuit breaker lockdown over the holidays.

Nunavut ordered an immediate circuit breaker lockdown just before Christmas due to rising COVID-19 cases in various communities.

Their government banned all indoor gatherings, ordered all non-essential businesses to close, and closed schools until Jan. 10.

In Manitoba, the province estimates that there is a 10,000 test backlog for COVID-19 test results, a contributing factor as to why Gerstein expects to see a large number of cases in the coming weeks.

“[The backlog] won’t even be reflected in our official case numbers. We’re missing four to ten times the number of true positives, I think.”

CTV News has reached out to the Health Minister’s office for comment but did not hear back as of yet.

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