Manitoba health minister hints at tighter rules after record coronavirus case jump

The Manitoba government is expected to tighten restrictions in the Winnipeg region after a record number of new COVID-19 cases.

Health Minister Cameron Friesen says the government has been analyzing its next steps and the chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, will have something to say Friday.

Read more: Another record-setting day of coronavirus cases in Manitoba, 1 new death reported Thursday

The province is reporting 193 new COVID-19 cases Thursday — the highest single-day jump since the pandemic began.

Hospital resources are being tested with intensive care beds at more than 90 per cent capacity.

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Coronavirus: Manitoba’s top doctor says province has let COVID-19 get ‘off the hook’

The greater Winnipeg region is already under stricter rules than other areas, with lower public gathering limits and capacity caps at restaurants and lounges.

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Friesen says those measures have not stopped case numbers from rising and more action is needed.

Read more: Another 3 coronavirus deaths, 170 new cases reported in Manitoba Wednesday

“That discussion of what to do next is underway right now,” Friesen said Thursday.

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“I’m sure that the discussion about what is open and what might be curtailed or adjusted will all be on the menu for Dr. Roussin as he updates Manitobans tomorrow.”

Click to play video 'Manitoba health officials give grim warnings as coronavirus numbers rise' Manitoba health officials give grim warnings as coronavirus numbers rise

Manitoba health officials give grim warnings as coronavirus numbers rise

The province adopted a colour-coded pandemic response system in the summer. The Winnipeg region is already in the orange category, which has forced some bars to close and other licensed establishments to operate at reduced capacity and shut down nightly at 11 p.m.

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If the region is downgraded to the red category, the government has a range of options that could include closing non-essential stores, forcing restaurants to provide only takeout and delivery, and requiring schools to stop in-class instruction and move to remote learning.

Read more: ‘Smarten up’: Littered masks in Winnipeg a health hazard – and they’re not recyclable

Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said Thursday he and other politicians have discussed a downgrade to the red category and how it could affect their work.

“A couple of days ago, we were already talking about how we’re going to run the legislature if it’s under code red.”

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

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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.

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.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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