Coronavirus: ‘Early signs’ of community transmission in Manitoba

Manitoba officials go over the latest COVID-19 measures happening in the province.

Manitoba is seeing “early signs” of community transmission of the novel coronavirus and there were 24 new cases overnight.

As of Wednesday, Manitoba had 127 probable and confirmed cases, said Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer.

One person has died, four people are in hospital and four have recovered.

Roussin said there are now several cases that investigations could not link to travel, confirming “early signs of community transmission.”

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“Now is the time to stay home. Stay home. Stay home,” said Roussin.

Cadham Provincial Laboratory performed 1,130 tests Tuesday. As of April 1, a total of 10,044 tests have been performed.

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Screening procedures will likely continue to open up in the near future, said Roussin, but for now symptomatic people who are high risk are still the focus.

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Asked about Manitoba’s supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), Lanette Siragusa of Shared Health said Manitoba has supplies for weeks for some things and months for others, and more is on the way.

Should Manitoba face a shortage of PPE, she said she will disclose that fact.

As for kids, the province is holding an online Q&A for children on YouTube Thursday at 11 a.m.

READ MORE: 7 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba, Selkirk hospital employee tests positive

Roussin announced Tuesday that a health-care worker from Selkirk Regional Health Centre had tested positive for the virus.

“New screening procedures are being implemented for staff working in acute and long-term care facilities,” said Roussin.

“Implementation of these measures will begin today and will involve all staff arriving for the start of their shift to have their temperature taken and be required to answer questions about any symptoms they have, their travel history and their exposure to positive COVID-19 cases.”

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Nursing help

Manitoba is allowing its nursing registrar to waive or modify registration hurdles for former nurses so more can be hired to work in local hospitals.

Health Minister Cameron Friesen and Premier Brian Pallister made the announcement Wednesday.

“Resilience matters in our health-care system,” said Pallister.

“We have seen what has happened in other jurisdictions when preparation is insufficient,” said Friesen.

“I want to thank the College of Registered Nurses and their registrants for working with us to make sure we can prepare for the challenges we face and ensure the safe care of Manitoba patients.”

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Former registrants of the college who want more information can visit here.

This isn’t the only health-care plan happening, said Friesen, adding that the province is looking at the idea of building temporary hospitals or using other structures to handle the expected surge in COVID-19 cases over the next few weeks.

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