Health officials reported 28 new cases of novel coronavirus in Manitoba Monday and said an outbreak has been declared at another personal care home in Brandon.
The new cases bring the total number of lab-confirmed cases in Manitoba since March to 1,214.
Read more: COVID-19 in three Manitoba care homes
Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief medical officer of health said Monday a previously-announced case in the Prairie Mountain Health region is a health-care worker who works at Fairview Personal Care Home in Brandon.
He said the facility has been moved to critical (red) on the province’s pandemic response system, and outbreak protocols have been initiated there. That means additional safety measures are being put into place at the site, and visitation has been restricted.
It’s the third personal care home in Brandon to declare an outbreak, and the fourth long-term care home in the province to see cases of the novel coronavirus since mid-August.
Hillcrest Place personal care home in Brandon declared an outbreak Saturday after a worker tested positive for the virus.
On Aug. 27, an employee at the Rideau Park Personal Care Home in Brandon tested positive for the virus — that worker wore personal protective while at the home, the province said earlier this week, as did the worker at Hillcrest Place.
On Aug. 17, an outbreak was declared at Bethesda Place, a Steinbach long term care facility. Eight people have since contracted the virus there. Three were residents, while five were employees. Two residents — women in their 90s — have died.
The province lifted visitation restrictions at long term care facilities in June.
The recent rise in cases in the southern part of the province has led health officials to re-implement travel restrictions to northern Manitoba and remote communities, Roussin said.
People are being told to avoid non-essential travel to the region starting Thursday, although there are exceptions for work, health care and other matters.
A similar ban was put in place in the spring to protect remote communities, but it was lifted in late June as COVID-19 numbers across the province dropped.
Monday’s cases bring the province’s five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 2.1 per cent. There are 469 known active cases and 731 people have recovered from COVID-19, health officials said. The number of deaths due to COVID-19 remained at 14.
The new cases include 13 people in the Prairie Mountain Health region, two in the Interlake-Eastern health region, six in the Souther Health region, and seven people in Winnipeg.
The province says there are currently 11 people in hospital with the virus, including one who is in intensive care.
Roussin said investigations show that 14 of the cases announced Monday are close contacts of previously announced cases and one was related to travel. He said additional investigations are continuing.
He said in the last week public health officials have been unable to determine the source of infection for 32 cases, including 16 people in the Prairie Health region, two in the Southern Health region, and 14 cases in Winnipeg. He has previously said there is indication of community spread in both Winnipeg and Brandon.
Manitoba also reported 35 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday.
Twelve of the cases reported Sunday were in the Prairie Mountain Health region, where health officials said three cases of COVID-19 have been linked to a hospital in Brandon.
The Manitoba government says all three of the cases had been previously identified, and that investigations into them led to a unit on the second floor of the Brandon Regional Health Centre.
A spokesman for the health region says the affected unit is the Assiniboine Centre, which provides care to rehabilitation patients and patients with other longer-term stays.
On Monday Roussin said two of the three cases reported at Brandon Regional Health Centre are health-care workers, and one is a patient. He said it appears the patient contracted the virus at the hospital.
The province says families and staff have been notified and contact tracing continues, but that risk is low.
It says outbreak protocols have been implemented “out of an abundance of caution” and visitors are being restricted on the affected floor.
Meanwhile health officials on Monday reported another recent potential exposure for the virus in Brandon.
They say the exposure risk happened at the Frederickson Performance Centre on 18th Street on Aug. 17 from 7 to 8:30 a.m. and Aug. 23 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Anyone who was at the location should seek testing, should symptoms appear, Roussin said.
The province says an additional 1,714 tests for COVID-19 were completed on Friday, 1,992 tests were completed on Saturday and 1,708 tests were completed on Sunday, bringing the total number of lab tests completed in Manitoba since early February to 137,499.
On Tuesday all visitors arriving at health-care facilities in Manitoba will be required to wear a non-medical mask to be permitted into the site.
The requirement also extends to outpatients attending appointments at clinics within hospitals and health centres.
The province stopped short of mandating mask use at primary care clinics and other locations providing health services, but health officials are encouraging their use at those locations as well.
–With files from The Canadian Press
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
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. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.
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