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Coronavirus: Manitoba announces first death, public gatherings to be limited to 10

Coronavirus outbreak: Manitoba confirms first death from COVID-19
Manitoba’s chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin confirmed on Friday the province’s first death from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Manitoba has recorded its first death related to COVID-19.

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Manitoba’s COVID-19 cases currently stand at 39, with three more cases overnight. The one person who was in hospital is the person who died. She was in her 60s.

Manitoba will also limit gatherings to 10 people starting on Monday, by orders of the chief public health officer, Brent Roussin.

Coronavirus outbreak: Manitoba to ban gatherings of 10 or more people
Coronavirus outbreak: Manitoba to ban gatherings of 10 or more people

Public health inspectors will be involved with enforcing the 10-person limit, said Dr. Roussin. Winnipeg police officers could also be utilized, he added.

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“This is not the time for dismay. We are not helpless… thank you to everyone who stepped up,” said Roussin.

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“Now is not the time for fear, now is the time for action, social distancing.”

Public health investigations are underway to determine additional details and to confirm the possible exposure of these cases.

Restrictions, starting Monday:

  • Public gathering rules apply to places of worship, gatherings and family events such as weddings and funerals.
  • This does not apply to a facility where health care or social services are provided including child-care centres and homeless shelters.
  • Retail businesses including grocery or food stores, shopping centres, pharmacies or gas stations must ensure separation of one to two metres between patrons assembling in the business.
  • Public transportation facilities must also ensure that people assembling at the facility are reasonably able to maintain a separation of one to two metres.

Roussin reiterated that the new 10-person rule does not apply to workplaces, but said businesses should be doing everything they can to let their employees work from home and perform social distancing at work.

Further business closures likely won’t happen until there is sustained community transmission, said Roussin, but added they may enact closures earlier.

Cadham Provincial Laboratory performed 606 tests on Thursday, said the province. As of March 26, 6,203 tests have been performed.

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Winnipeg mayor Brian Bowman sent out a statement Friday when he heard about the first death.

“Our deepest condolences to the friends and family of the deceased,” he said.

“The tragic news of this loss of life is a stark reminder of the gravity of the global pandemic we are facing together. It reinforces how essential it is for all of us, as Winnipeggers, to diligently follow the direction of our health care and emergency professionals.”

A community testing site will open Monday, March 30 in Pine Falls at École Powerview School, 33 Vincent St., from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday. The community testing site in The Pas has relocated to the Royal Canadian Legion at 4 Veterans Way.

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While updates on numbers of cases will continue to be updated at the press conference daily, details like age, gender and area will only be provided online when information is confirmed.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Manitoba asks for emergency federal credit fund, says PST won’t be reduced

On Thursday, the premier said the previously announced PST cut to 6 per cent on July 1 would not be happening this year, and asked the federal government to implement a fund that would allow provinces to borrow money at a cheaper interest rate.

He also said the province’s rainy day fund would shortly be depleted, and the provincial government estimates it will need to borrow at least $5 billion to keep health care running during the pandemic.

Watch today’s full press conference here:

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

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Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers must self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

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.

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