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Coronavirus: Manitoba’s state of emergency extended, testing to widen

WATCH: Manitoba health officials will update the province Monday at 1 p.m. on the latest novel coronavirus numbers.

This story will be updated as the press conference continues.

Manitoba is extending the current state of emergency for another 30 days and has expanded coronavirus testing starting Monday.

“While Manitoba’s case numbers appear to be low … this does not mean the risk of COVID-19 is low,” Premier Brian Pallister said on Monday.

The state of emergency is now in effect until May 18. The current public health order is in effect until May 1 and will be re-evaluated at that point.

One additional death was also announced on Monday as well as another coronavirus case.

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The woman who died was in intensive care and had underlying health conditions, said Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer.

Eight people are in hospital, with five in intensive care. There are 105 active cases and 144 people who have recovered. Six people have now died.

The people who are now eligible to be tested for the coronavirus include:

  • Travellers returning to Manitoba
  • Anyone who has had close contact with a confirmed case
  • Lab workers who have worked with coronavirus tests
  • Health-care workers
  • People who live/work in the north, isolated or group settings, correctional facilities, shelters, long-term care or residential facilities or remote work camps
  • First responders
  • Workers or volunteers at workplaces that have been identified as essential services
  • Any symptomatic person who lives with a health-care worker, first responder or worker in a congregate setting such as a correctional facility, shelter, long-term care or residential facility

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Manitoba currently has 254 cases.

Cadham Provincial Laboratory performed 260 coronavirus tests on Sunday. A total of 20,012 tests have been performed since early February.

The goal is to get our testing capability up to 2,000 tests daily, said Pallister.

The amount of testing being done right now is appropriate, added Rousin, saying 2,000 tests is a “just-in-case” number.

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The numbers over the weekend rose only slightly, with three cases announced Saturday and none on Sunday.

Surgical centres

Lanette Siragusa of Shared Health said some surgeries that were previously postponed may be possible without compromising patient safety.

Those diagnostic and surgical delays are done on a case-by-case basis, however, if people’s health changes, they should contact their doctor, Siragusa said.

Health Sciences Centre will be the first to “open up the gates a little bit,” said Siragusa.

On Monday, the province once again put out a call for items, including nitrile gloves, vinyl gloves, N95 masks and testing swabs.

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The province has spent $400 million so far to make sure Manitoba has the supplies it needs, according to a statement sent to media.

Businesses who can help can find more information here.

Condolences

The premier began the press conference with condolences for Nova Scotians and all Maritimers, saying the flag of Nova Scotia will fly at the Manitoba Legislative Building until sundown Tuesday after the province became the scene of one of the worst mass shootings in Canadian history Sunday.

READ MORE: Sunday COVID-19 update — No new Manitoba cases

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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.

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