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Manitoba bolsters rules in attempt to further control spread of coronavirus

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

The Manitoba government is tightening rules aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19 amid the growing threat posed by variants of the virus.

People will be considered contacts of a case — and be required to undergo testing and self-isolation — if they have been in close range of an infection for 10 minutes.

Read more: Manitoba reports 2 additional coronavirus deaths, 97 new cases

The previous time frame was 15 minutes.

The province is also ending an exemption that allowed some household members of a positive case to avoid self-isolation.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Manitoba premier criticizes Ottawa over vaccine rollout, talks contract for made-in-Canada vaccine' Coronavirus: Manitoba premier criticizes Ottawa over vaccine rollout, talks contract for made-in-Canada vaccine
Coronavirus: Manitoba premier criticizes Ottawa over vaccine rollout, talks contract for made-in-Canada vaccine – Feb 17, 2021

Going forward, everyone in the same home as a positive case will have to self-isolate and get tested.

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The province’s COVID-19 numbers continue to plateau after a sharp spike last fall and a drop in December and January.

Read more: Manitoba deal for potential coronavirus vaccine worth $36M: Pallister

Health officials reported 97 new cases Monday and two deaths.

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Dr. Brent Roussin, chief public health officer, said he expects case counts may increase slightly as the provincial government recently relaxed some restrictions on businesses.

Restaurants, gyms, museums, tattoo parlours and many other establishments were given the green light to open their doors again, at 25 per cent capacity, earlier this month. People are also allowed to have a maximum of two visitors in their homes, but they must be the same two people for the duration of current public health orders.

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Premier Brian Pallister said the Progressive Conservative government is looking at further business openings over the long term, including government-run casinos and professional sports with fans in the stands.

But any large crowd events are a long way off, he said.

Read more: Ottawa still blocking provinces from ordering vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna: Pallister

“This discussion is underway, but I would emphasize it’s premature at this stage to talk about large group gatherings,” Pallister said.

“I don’t want to create a false sense of optimism that we’re in a rush to get these things going too quickly, because that’s not the case.”

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

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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.

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

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