Manitoba health officials report 11 new coronavirus cases as students return to school Tuesday

Click to play video: 'Prairie Mountain optimism'
Prairie Mountain optimism
No new COVID-19 cases were reported in the Prairie Mountain health region Tuesday, but as Joe Scarpelli reports, restrictions aren't going anywhere – Sep 8, 2020

Manitoba’s health officials reported 11 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday afternoon.

The new cases come as thousands of students returned to the classroom Tuesday morning and 15 new cases were identified Monday.

The new cases reported Tuesday bring the province’s total number of lab-confirmed cases identified since March to 1,338, including 393 known active cases. So far 940 Manitobans have recovered from COVID-19 and 16 have died.

Provincial officials say seven of Manitoba’s 16 deaths from COVID-19 involve patients at healthcare facilities or care homes. A new report shows two of those deaths were linked to an outbreak at Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg in the spring.

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Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Manitoba education minister says public health will advise of infections in schools'
Coronavirus: Manitoba education minister says public health will advise of infections in schools

There were 13 people with COVID-19 in hospital in Manitoba as of Tuesday, including three in intensive care. Health officials said 1,219 lab tests for the virus were completed Monday, bringing the total number of lab tests completed since early February to 148,537.

Manitoba’s current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 1.3 per cent, according to the province.

The new cases include one person in the Interlake-Eastern health region, two in the Southern Health region, and eight people in Winnipeg.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Manitoba to break down Winnipeg into districts for COVID-19 reporting'
Coronavirus: Manitoba to break down Winnipeg into districts for COVID-19 reporting

Care home cases, more details coming for Winnipeg

This marks the first day in weeks Prairie Mountain Health region has not reported a new case after an outbreak in the region forced the province to bring further restrictions to the area into the last month.

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Monday marked a full incubation period since masks have been mandatory and gathering sizes have been reduced to 10 in the region.

Manitoba’s chief public officer of health Dr. Brent Roussin said there have been 457 cases identified in the Prairie Mountain Health region since July 1, and 214 cases remained active as of Tuesday.

According to provincial data 140 of those active cases are in Brandon, where outbreaks have been declared at three personal care homes and 86 cases have been linked to the Maple Leaf pork processing plant. Roussin said Tuesday 38 cases linked to the plant remain active.

He said an outbreak at the Assiniboine Centre of the Brandon Regional Health Centre has 10 cases, including three staff members and seven patients.

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As for the outbreaks at Brandon personal care homes Roussin said Fairview Personal Care Home has three cases, all staff members, Hillcrest Place has four cases, including two staff members and four patients, and Rideau Park Personal Care Home has two staff who’ve tested positive.

Roussin said he’s pleased to see a “clear decline” in daily case counts in the Prairie Mountain Health region over the last two weeks, but said health officials will watch the numbers before deciding on whether or not to lift restrictions.

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“We’re just into one incubation period since we put the restrictions on and so we need to see more of this trend for much longer,” he said.

“Perhaps another incubation period or at least another half incubation period before we could think about wanting to lift those restrictions.”

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Manitoba health officials declare an outbreak at a personal care home'
Coronavirus: Manitoba health officials declare an outbreak at a personal care home

Roussin said the number of cases linked to an outbreak that’s left two dead at the Bethesda Place personal care home in Steinbach remained at 18 as of Tuesday.

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Meanwhile four personal care homes in Winnipeg have also reported positive cases, Roussin said.

Those cases include one staff member at Fred Douglas Place, two staff at Beacon Hill Lodge, one staff member at Concordia Place, and a resident at Donwood Manor Elderly Persons Housing.

Manitoba Health Minister Cameron Friesen said the province would soon be breaking down Winnipeg into 12 districts for COVID-19 case reporting, with the plan to do so by end of the week.

Roussin said the change is not to guide actions of where people go, but to simply provide information in a more focused manner.

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As of Tuesday Winnipeg had 146 active COVID-19 cases.

Back to school

Manitoba students may have returned to class Tuesday, but with new measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, things aren’t exactly back to normal.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, schools across the province have taken health and safety measures to protect staff and students that make the 2020-21 school year an unprecedented experience for everyone involved.

Masks are mandatory on school buses for all students and are also required in classes where physical separation can’t be maintained for grades 4 to 12.  Many high schools are increasing physical distance by having students alternate remote learning and in-class instruction.

Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen says extra masks and cleaning supplies have been purchased for schools.

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With students, staff, and teachers back in school, health officials said Tuesday it’s important Manitobans work to stop the spread of COVID-19.

They say that means staying home if you’re sick, washing and sanitizing your hands regularly, covering coughs, and physically distancing when you’re with people from outside your home. Health officials say masks should be worn If you can’t physically distance.

—With files from The Canadian Press

Click to play video: 'Manitoba school staff preparing to welcome students back to class amid coronavirus'
Manitoba school staff preparing to welcome students back to class amid coronavirus

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.

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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.

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

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