More restrictions coming to Winnipeg Metro Region following spike in COVID-19 cases

WINNIPEG — As the cases in the Winnipeg region continue to grow, the province’s top doctor says more restrictions are coming.

Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief provincial public health officer, said the province will be adding more restrictions for the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region.

Some of those restrictions are already taking place at personal care homes as the province is moving all care homes in the metro region to the critical or red on the pandemic response system.

All new admissions to care homes will be isolated for 14 days and no new people will be allowed into a facility that is suspected or confirmed to have an outbreak unless the new resident already has a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Roussin said other options to help staffing at care homes are not off the table, such as the province providing its own staff or even bringing in the army.

“When we’re dealing with it in the pandemic, we’ve looked to multiple ways to address issues,” said Roussin.

Roussin also mentioned wider restrictions will be put in place on top of the code orange that is already in place in Winnipeg and surrounding areas.

“Expect widespread capacity limitations across multiple sectors,” said Roussin.

He did add that Winnipeg will not go to the critical or red level as a whole.

He said one factor that would move the city to red or critical would be a strain on the healthcare system, which he said is not the case right now.

“We’re going to expand the orange very shortly. We’re going to have to see what that does within an incubation period or so. If we are not seeing progress then we will have to take further action which might be red, it might be certain sectors going red.”

Despite new restrictions on the way, Roussin said Winnipeggers and Manitobans shouldn’t need more restrictions to follow the rules.

“You don’t need to be restricted by an order to take the proper steps to protect yourself and the people around you. So like we said, there’s actions that each Manitoban can take right now to reduce their risk and you don’t need to wait to see if an order requires you to do that.”

As part of the restricted or orange level on the pandemic response system, gathering limits have been brought down to 10 people for indoor public areas and outdoor gatherings.

Masks are required in all indoor public spaces and the province has put time limits on when restaurants and bars can be open and when they must stop serving food and alcohol.

Of the 173 new COVID-19 cases announced on Thursday, 133 were in Winnipeg. (put link to covid story in here)

Roussin also said the test positivity rate in Winnipeg is 5.8 per cent.

New restrictions are expected to be announced either on Friday or early next week, Roussin said.

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