Manitoba is increasing its COVID-19 procurement fund — set up to help the government respond quickly to the needs of health-care workers fighting the novel coronavirus disease — by $300 million.
The money is in addition to a $100-million fund started earlier this month.
“Our government has already fast-tracked $100 million in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 through our Manitoba Protection Plan,” said Central Services Minister Reg Helwer.
“Today, we’re quadrupling our commitment to $400 million for the COVID-19 procurement fund to ensure our plan is effective and that we can continue to be proactive in the steps we take to protect Manitobans during this pandemic.”
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister previously announced a special $100-million COVID-19 procurement fund to help businesses retool their operations to manufacture medical supplies and equipment like masks, gowns and face shields.
The announcement came among other funding programs the Manitoba government created to help businesses, residents and health-care workers in the fight against COVID-19.
The province says the money will be used to support outbreak planning, prevention and mitigation efforts and allow the province to secure supplies and resources.
Those efforts include:
- Buying medical supplies and equipment, including personal protective equipment
- Developing hotel capacity for those requiring isolation
- Preparing overflow capacity for hospitals
- Supporting local production of medical equipment and personal protective equipment
- Providing training and grants for child-care providers to open their own small-scale daycares
- Establishing a COVID-19 research fund
- Providing online service for mental health support
- Creating an online link for Manitobans looking for volunteers during the outbreak
- Opening testing COVID-19 sites around the province
- Starting a local call centre to help local groups access government programs
“This new investment continues to address the needs of our front-line health-care workers and patients,” said Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen.
“Our government is taking every step possible to protect Manitoba families and ensure people are able to get the care they need during this critical time.”
READ MORE: Manitoba mom sews handmade face masks
Manufacturers or businesses able to rapidly scale up production or retool manufacturing lines to develop products to help in the fight against COVID-19 or those with a personal stock of protective equipment to donate are asked to reach out through the government’s website.
Manitoba businesses that can also donate unused personal protective equipment supplies that are in their original packaging, clean and in usable condition are asked to reach out through this link.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
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.
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