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Winnipeg COVID-19 testing sites see long lineups

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An influx of people lining up to be tested for COVID-19 in Winnipeg is snarling traffic around some city testing sites. Abigail Turner reports. – Dec 21, 2021

An influx of people lining up to be tested for COVID-19 in Winnipeg is snarling traffic around some city testing sites.

A post on the city’s transport management centre Twitter account Tuesday morning warned drivers to expect delays around the Nairn Avenue and King Edward Street testing sites.

Read more: COVID-19 — Manitoba parents keeping students home amid rising cases, Omicron concerns

“Please avoid these areas if possible and use the designated lanes if you are getting a test,” reads a tweet sent shortly after 11 a.m.

The testing sites both operate out of Manitoba Public Insurance offices and offer drive-thru testing.

Cars line up at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site on Regent Avenue Tuesday morning. Global News/Matt Purchase

They each opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday, and both had lines wrapping around the block when a Global News videographer stopped by a few hours later.

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The city had also warned about traffic delays around the King Edward Street testing site Monday afternoon.

Read more: Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine yet in Manitoba? How to book it and where to go

A full list of testing sites in Winnipeg and across Manitoba is available on the province’s website.

The increase in testing comes as provincial health officials have warned that Manitoba will likely see a surge in new cases in the coming weeks due to the fast-spreading Omicron variant.

Last week the province released preliminary modelling that shows the number of new daily infections could more than quadruple as the Omicron variant spreads in the coming weeks — from the current level of about 200 to as many as 1,000 by early January 2022.

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Manitoba reported 807 new COVID-19 cases and six more deaths over the last three days. On Sunday, it marked its highest single-day number since June with 333 infections. There were 200 on Monday.

The province said in a news release Monday that nine more cases of the Omicron variant had also been identified for a total of 17.

Read more: Canada tops 10K COVID-19 cases as provinces bring back restrictions

Tighter public health restrictions on gatherings and capacity for both vaccinated and unvaccinated Manitobans came into effect across the province Tuesday.

Health Minister Audrey Gordon has said the rules are necessary to try to curb the spread of the Omicron variant and prevent more pressure on overburdened hospitals.

— with files from The Canadian Press

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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.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, visit our coronavirus page.

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