Manitoba health officials reported 37 new cases of COVID-19 and officially confirmed the province’s latest death Thursday.
Dr. Brent Roussin announced the new cases and confirmed the death — a woman in her 90s living at Parkview Place Long Term Care in Winnipeg — at a 1 p.m. press conference.
Global News first reported a resident of the long-term care home had died Tuesday after Revera, the company that runs the home, announced the death.
Thursday’s press conference comes as Winnipeg has seen case counts steadily increase, outbreaks have been declared at several personal care homes, and the number of schools that have reported cases since classes returned Sept. 8 has risen to double digits.
Of the new cases, 30 are in Winnipeg, Roussin said, adding health officials are seeing an increase in cases linked to bars, pubs, and restaurants in the city.
He said roughly half of all the cases reported in Winnipeg in recent weeks have been traced back to city bars and restaurants.
“Many cases are young adults in their 20s and have many various exposures at restaurants and bars and throughout the city,” he said. ”
We’ve had a number of cases that have visited more than one bar in a single evening.”
Roussin said one case in particular visited a bar while symptomatic and ended up reporting 36 separate contacts.
“We see these types of issues, we know what to do about it — we know that we should be decreasing our time in public spaces, crowded spaces and reducing prolonged contact,” he said.
“We certainly shouldn’t be out when we’re symptomatic.”
The increasing number of contacts are keeping contact tracers busy, Roussin said. And to make matters worse Roussin said those doing the work are reporting contacts who being “angry, rude, and abusive” after being advised to self-isolate.
“Public health is trying to reduce the impact of this virus on the population,” he said.
“It’s certainly inconvenient to be named as a contact and to have to self-isolate, but we do it for a reason — to limit the spread of this virus.”
The other new cases include four in the Interlake-Eastern health region, one is in the Prairie Mountain Health region, and two are in the Southern Health region.
Thursday’s cases bring the province’s total recorded since March to 1,711.
Roussin said Carberry Plains Health Centre has reopened and has been moved down to the yellow threat level from red on the province’s pandemic response system. The site was closed to acute and emergency care late in the day Sept. 11 after a health-care worker and an out-patient tested positive.
Roussin also confirmed a student has tested positive at Winnipeg’s Grant Park High School.
Global News obtained a letter reporting the case at Grant Park sent home to parents at the school Wednesday night. According to the letter, the student was in the school September 15, 16, and 17. The exposure is considered low-risk and the infection was not acquired at school, Roussin said.
Grant Park is the 14th school in Manitoba to have a case of COVID-19 since classes resumed more than two weeks ago.
There are currently 449 active COVID-19 cases in Manitoba, including 365 in Winnipeg. Eleven people are hospitalized with six in intensive care.
Provincial data shows 1,616 COVID-19 tests were completed on Wednesday, bringing the total number of lab tests completed since early February to 171,661.
Health officials are strongly encouraging Manitobans — especially Winnipeggers — to stay home if sick and follow precautions like handwashing and wearing a mask to prevent any further spread of the virus.
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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