WINNIPEG — A number of Manitoba dentists are in self-isolation after attending a conference in Vancouver, where someone who later tested positive for COVID-19 attended.
The Manitoba Dental Association sent a notice to all dentists in the province to self-isolate if they attended the Pacific Dental Conference from March 5-7.
“The direction was very specific from the minister of health and subsequently Manitoba health that it was until March 22,” said Dr. Marc Mollot, the president of the Manitoba Dental Association.
According to the event’s website, the dental conference draws in almost 15,000 attendees.
The person in attendance with COVID-19 was Dr. Dennis Vincent, a Vancouver based dentist who has since died from suspected complications related to the virus.
“Now there are up to 32 people that we can link directly or indirectly to that conference,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, a B.C. provincial health official.
About 20 cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia and almost a dozen more outside that province can be traced to the conference.
The Manitoba Dental Association said there were 16 exhibitors and 95 attendees from Manitoba.
Of those, 75 are dentists who could have been seeing patients between the time of the conference and the time of the quarantine notice.
“So that possibility is there regardless of if it’s a dentist attending that conference or any other attendee, whether its an exhibitor or an employee,” said Mollot.
The Manitoba Dentistry Association could not say if anyone who attended the conference is showing symptoms.
According to Mollot, the association immediately dismantled and sent its workforce to work from home after the notification.
A Winnipegger who was in the same hotel as the pacific dental conference but didn’t attend has been tested for COVID-19.
“At the time, it seemed like I was overreacting to be self-isolating,” said Kerry Smith, who is still waiting for her test results.
“It wasn’t as public as it is now. Not everybody was self-isolating, it was still kind of like, ‘oh, yeah right,’” she said.
Smith says her symptoms are much better than they previously were and isn’t worried about her health.
-With files from CTV’s Andrew Weichel
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