The majority of new COVID-19 cases reported in Manitoba were once again found in Winnipeg Tuesday, where another city school has confirmed they’ve had cases of the virus identified in the classroom.
Of the 24 new cases identified in the province Tuesday, 20 are in Winnipeg. The remaining four are split between the Interlake-Eastern and Southern Health regions.
The new cases bring Manitoba’s total number of cases recorded since March to 1,632 and health officials say the province currently has 380 active cases — 305 of which are in Winnipeg.
Public health said Collège Louis-Riel in Winnipeg confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the school on Sept. 14.
They say the school immediately closed off areas used by the infected person and did not use the areas again until cleaning and disinfection could be done. The school remains open; public health says close contacts to the case are self-isolating and the risk for transmission has been deemed low.
They say the infection was not acquired at the school.
Meanwhile, health officials said Tuesday a cluster of cases linked to another Winnipeg school — John Pritchard School — sits at 20 confirmed cases.
Several schools in Winnipeg and Brandon have reported positive cases since schools reopened across the province on Sept. 8.
On Monday health officials confirmed a possible exposure at Garden City Collegiate on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of last week.
On Tuesday Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman called on the province to mandate the use of masks across the province, including in Winnipeg.
Manitoba’s chief public officer of health, Dr. Brent Roussin, said Monday mandating masks and bringing back other restrictions are on the table, but for now, the province is monitoring the situation.
Cases at assisted living facility, other potential exposures
Health officials said Tuesday investigations into two previously-identified cases have since been linked to Maplewood Manor assisted living facility in Steinbach.
The province says close contacts are being identified and investigations are ongoing.
The facility has been moved to the critical, or red, level of the province’s pandemic response system and visitations have been restricted.
Manitoba Health is also warning about several possible exposures to COVID-19 at the following sites on the dates and times:
- the lounge at The Keg Steakhouse and Bar, 115 Garry St. in Winnipeg on Sept. 15 from 6 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. and Sept. 16 from 3:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Winnipeg Transit, Route 47 on Sept. 12 and Sept. 13 from Mayfair Avenue and Queen Elizabeth Way at approximately 11:32 a.m. to Kildaire Avenue West and Kootenay Crescent at 12:10 p.m.
Winnipeg Transit, Route 47 on Sept. 12 and Sept. 13 from Plessis Road and Rosseau Avenue at approximately 9:45 p.m. to Mayfair Avenue and Queen Elizabeth Way at 10:20 p.m.
Outbreaks have previously been declared at several personal care homes across the province, including Bethesda Place in Steinbach, where two elderly residents died from the virus last month.
On Monday, health officials announced that two more elderly Manitobans have died after testing positive for COVID-19. That brings the total fatalities associated with the novel coronavirus in the province to 18. The recent deaths were of a man in his 80s in the southern health region and a woman in her 80s in the Prairie Mountain region.
The province lifted visitation restrictions at long-term care facilities in June.
More testing sites coming
The province said Tuesday it is contracting with Dynacare to open and operate several COVID-19 specimen collection sites across Manitoba.
It’s hoped the new sites will initially bring an additional 1,400 tests a day, with the ability to increase to 2,600 more going forward.
The company is starting to recruit staff to open a mobile collection site as early as Sept. 28 in Winnipeg, the province says.
Manitoba Health said more drive-thru sites are expected to open in Winnipeg, Brandon, Portage la Prairie, and Dauphin in the coming weeks.
Last week testing sites in Winnipeg hit capacity and had to close early two days in a row.
Provincial data shows 1,205 tests were performed across the province Monday, bringing the total number of lab tests completed since early February to 167,203.
Read more: COVID-19 in three Manitoba care homes
The province says only those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or those who have been recommended by public health officials should go for testing.
Health officials say people with symptoms should go for testing as soon as possible once the symptoms are present.
An online COVID-19 assessment tool can be found on the province’s website.
–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.
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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