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Manitobans should remain vigilant around care homes during COVID-19: seniors’ advocate

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba chief public health officer, speaks during the province's COVID-19 update at the Manitoba legislature in Winnipeg. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Manitoba’s personal care homes are set to start allowing outdoor visits with residents next week, but a local seniors advocate says caution is key when moving forward during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Connie Newman, executive director of the Manitoba Association of Senior Centres, says her big worry is that people might pick up the virus and not realize it before going to visit vulnerable loved ones.
“I’m careful, but before I go into a long-term care facility, they’re going to double-check,” Newman told 680 CJOB.
“I’m going to make sure I stay away if I’m not feeling well, or if I’ve been somewhere where someone could have shared that virus with me and didn’t know they were sharing it.”
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Newman said Manitoba has been lucky so far to avoid the kind of outbreaks care homes in Ontario and Quebec have seen, but we need to remain vigilant to prevent that from happening.

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“There are some of us carrying this virus and we don’t know if we’re carrying it, and that’s the part that worries me,” she said.

“We need to follow the rules, because if we don’t, we’re going to go backwards.”
“We’re going to be like Ontario, Quebec and B.C., and the numbers are going to be disastrous.”
As of Wednesday, Manitoba’s coronavirus cases remained at 290 — a sharp contrast to Ontario’s more than 20,000 and almost 45,000 in Quebec.
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Despite Manitoba’s low numbers and the province’s announcement of reduced restrictions, chief provincial officer of health Dr. Brent Roussin said the changes don’t mean Manitoba is in the clear on COVID-19.
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“It’s not a return to normal,” Roussin said Wednesday. “We’re still dealing with this virus and we’re still going to need to deal with this virus for some time, so we need to take those precautions.”

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