Disease experts raising alarm about Manitoba’s growing COVID-19 crisis

Click to play video: 'Answering your COVID-19 questions, Oct. 29' Answering your COVID-19 questions, Oct. 29
We spoke with Dr. Jason Kindrachuk of the University of Manitoba about surging COVID-19 cases in the province. – Oct 29, 2020

As Manitoba’s COVID-19 case count continues to rise — including another record-setting day Thursday — infectious disease experts are raising alarm bells over the province’s growing coronavirus threat.

Dr. Jason Kindrachuk of the University of Manitoba’s department of medical microbiology said the situation is dire.

“I don’t think there’s any way that we can sugarcoat it or walk around those terms,” he said.

“The overall positivity rate in Manitoba is on par with what they’re seeing nationally in the U.S., and in the past, we’ve looked at the U.S. as being kind of an out-of-control situation.

“This situation is not just going to take care of itself.”

Kindrachuk said Manitoba has moved past the point of personal responsibility, as the virus is starting to have a big impact on health-care centres — as well as health-care workers — across the province, but especially in Winnipeg.

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“I think there need to be some tougher restrictions,” he said.

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“We need help and we need it quick.”

Read more: COVID-19 pandemic means bleak times for Manitoba restaurants, according to new survey

Winnipeg epidemiologist Cynthia Carr had similar thoughts Wednesday.

Carr said she’s not encouraged that the province is starting to round the corner on the disease.

“Unfortunately, we’re seeing significant community-based spread still. I’m still looking at the seven-day averages of new cases going up all across Manitoba — we’ve had 2,200 new cases just since Thanksgiving weekend.

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“We’re still in a challenging situation, but we can turn this around.”

Carr said she hopes, for the sake of the province’s economic and social well-being, that we’re not headed toward another shutdown, but “nothing is off the table.”

“When you take that party to your home, just because the bar or restaurant is closed, you’re sabotaging you, your friends, your family, and those businesses that are following the rules and staying closed.”

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