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Four in 10 people are testing COVID-19 positive in Steinbach, Man. – Thompson Citizen



WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is closing schools in an area southeast of Winnipeg where COVID-19 numbers have spiked.

The Hanover School Division, the largest rural division in the province, will move to remote learning on Tuesday.

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“This action is taken as a preventive safety measure in response to the increased test positivity rate in Steinbach and the RM (Rural Municipality) of Hanover,” said an announcement on the division’s website Friday night.

In the division’s largest community, Steinbach, 40 per cent of people tested over the last 10 days have COVID-19. The city of 16,000 is seeing 30 to 40 positive test results each day.

“When you’re looking at something like 40 per cent, we just know this is a very concerning number and we need things to change in that area right now,” Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, said earlier in the day.

Steinbach was the site of an anti-mask rally last weekend, although many attendees came from other communities. Roussin said there was no direct link between the event and the rising numbers.

The numbers in the region have been rising for weeks, he added. Last Friday, emergency room nurses at the Steinbach hospital reported they had to triage patients in their cars because there was no room inside.

There was other evidence of the growing pandemic in Manitoba Friday. Roussin said a baby was in hospital with COVID-19. There were nine new deaths, including a man in his ’20s from Winnipeg — the youngest person to die of the illness in the province to date.

There were 437 new cases, which meant Manitoba continued to have the highest per-capita rate in the country of new infections.

On Thursday night, a Winnipeg nursing home called in paramedics and asked relatives of residents to come and sit by their bedsides and monitor them for any change in condition. Half of the 81 residents had tested positive for COVID-19.

“We are struggling with staffing as many staff are off sick, reached capacity with picking up shifts, are COVID-19 positive themselves, etc.,” read a note posted by chief executive officer Marcy-Lynn Larner on the Facebook page of Golden Links Lodge.

“We are asking the primary caregiver for each resident to consider coming into our home to help care for your loved one. There is risk involved with this and we know that.”

To try to turn the pandemic tide, the Manitoba government has imposed a series of tightening rules. The latest measures took effect Friday. They forbid retailers from selling non-essential goods in-store and force them to operate at reduced capacity.

Public gatherings are limited to five people outdoors. People cannot have visitors in their homes except for services such as health care and child care. People who live alone are allowed one visitor for socializing.

Roussin said the rules should start to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus in the coming days, but he chided people who continue to go out for non-essential reasons. He said he sees a big difference from the spring, when people took care to stay home.

“I remember driving to work (in the spring) and the streets were empty … it was quiet, kind of a surreal feeling at that time,” Roussin said.

“Driving to work today, the streets were full.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 20, 2020.

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B.C. reports 13 more deaths and 738 new cases of COVID-19 – Global News



British Columbia reported 738 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and 13 new deaths.

It brings the province’s death toll to 371.

Officials also revised daily case totals from Nov. 16 to Nov. 24, owing to data reporting errors in the Fraser Health region.

The correction saw total case numbers increase on several days, but also saw Tuesday’s record-breaking 941 new cases revised down to 706. Full corrections will be available on the BC Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 dashboard in the coming days.

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“I know we had a dramatic increase in the daily numbers, that was a result of some of these data coming in at different times. So we apologize,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Read more:
Second wave: Global BC hosts COVID-19 town hall Wednesday with Dr. Bonnie Henry and Adrian Dix

The majority of Wednesday’s cases were in the Fraser Health region (443) and Vancouver Coastal Health (169).

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Seventy were in the Interior Health region, 35 in the Northern Health region and 21 were on Vancouver Island.

The number of people in hospital climbed yet again, reaching a new record of 294. Sixty-one people were in critical or intensive care.

The outbreak at Royal Columbian Hospital was declared over, but 57 outbreaks in health-care facilities — 52 of them in long-term care — remained active.

There were 7,616 active cases, while 10,270 people were isolating due to potential exposure to the virus.

About 68 per cent of B.C.’s total 29,086 cases have recovered.

Vaccine rollout

British Columbia is aiming to roll out COVID-19 vaccines sometime in early 2021, Henry said.

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The province has appointed Dr. Ross Brown, the Vancouver Coastal Health’s vice-president of COVID response, to coordinate the program.

“This is a massive effort,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said.

“(It’s) the most significant immunization program certainly in the history of B.C., obviously because of the attention placed on it, it’s importance and its speed and the fact that we are dealing with new vaccines. All of that adds to its complications.”

Brown will work with Henry on logistical questions about how to distribute the vaccine as efficiently as possible, she said.

Questions include how to ship refrigerated vaccine, and how to prioritize its distribution to health-care workers and the vulnerable.

Mask order

Henry addressed new $230 fines, announced Tuesday, for people who refuse to wear a mask in indoor public places.

She called on people to be tolerant of others if they see them without a mask on, noting that many people cannot wear masks for reasons that may not be immediately visible.

The purpose of the order, she said, is to target individuals who are intentionally flouting the rules and putting others at risk.

“I have no time for people who are belligerent and are trying to make some kind of a statement about anti-vaxx, and think that this is not a truly challenging pandemic,” Henry said.

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“I have no time for people who believe that wearing a mask somehow makes them ill or is a sign of lack of freedom. For me it is about respect for our fellow people who are suffering through this.”

Rapid testing

British Columbia has received a supply of rapid tests from the federal government, but the quantity of tests and limitations around sensitivity mean they are not being widely used, Henry said.

The province has been trying the tests out in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, where following up with someone days after a test can be challenging, she said.

Officials are also hopeful they can be used to help identify clusters of virus in rural areas, or in long-term care settings where they need to quickly assess symptomatic people, she said.

“We’re still working out what the best way is to use these tests,” she said.

Global News will host a live town hall Wednesday evening with provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix at 6:30 p.m.

Click to play video 'B.C. records 941 new cases of COVID-19, 10 additional deaths'

B.C. records 941 new cases of COVID-19, 10 additional deaths

B.C. records 941 new cases of COVID-19, 10 additional deaths

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Report of COVID-19 death of Manitoban in his 20s was an error, province says –



The province of Manitoba says a report that a man in his 20s died from COVID-19 last week was an error, and the man is actually still alive.

The death was reported last Friday, and would have been the youngest person in Manitoba to die from the illness since the pandemic began.

However, on Wednesday, the death was moved from the province’s case list. 

Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said the mistaken report was due to a data-entry error. He said the man in his 20s does have COVID-19, but he is still alive and currently in isolation. 

“I certainly apologize for any confusion that that had caused,” Roussin said at Wednesday’s COVID-19 media update.

“We have a lot of safeguards on the data and reviewing of that data, so I remain confident in the numbers that we receive. And we have a process to review and correct when needed.”

Watch | Dr. Brent Roussin explains where error came from: 

The province of Manitoba says a report that a man in his 20s died from COVID-19 last week was an error, and the man is actually still alive. 0:24

The province announced the COVID-19-related deaths of two other people under 40 last week — a woman in her 30s from the Interlake-Eastern health region, and a man in his 30s from the Winnipeg health region.

On Wednesday, 349 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Manitoba. Nine more people have died of the illness, the province said, bringing the total number of COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba to 256.

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Coronavirus deaths surpass 250 in Manitoba on Wednesday – CTV News Winnipeg



The number of Manitobans who have died of COVID-19 has now surpassed 250, after Manitoba’s top doctor reported nine more deaths on Wednesday.

Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, said Manitoba’s most recent deaths include two men, one in their 40s and one in their 60s, and a woman in her 80s from the Winnipeg health region.

A woman in her 50s and a man in his 80s from the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region were also among the reported deaths.

The province also reported several deaths on Wednesday linked to personal care homes.

The death of a woman in her 70s was linked to the outbreak at the St. Norbert Personal Care Home, and the death of a woman in her 90s was linked to the outbreak at Saul and Claribel Simkin Centre, both of which are in Winnipeg.

The death of a man in his 80s was linked to the outbreak at the Buhler Active Living Centre, and the death of a woman in her 90s was linked to the outbreak at the Rest Haven Nursing Home, both of which are in the Southern Health region.

Roussin said a previously reported death, a man in his 20s from Winnipeg, is incorrect. He said due to a data entry error, the man was mistakenly included in the number of reported COVID-19 deaths. Roussin said this man does have COVID-19 and is currently in isolation.

“These are dealing with a lot of data entry and an error was made in this case,” Roussin said, apologizing for any confusion. “We have a lot of safeguards on the data and reviewing of the data, so I remain confident in the numbers that we receive, and we have a process to review and correct when needed.”

This brings the total number of deaths in Manitoba to 256.

Along with the deaths, the province reported 349 new cases of COVID-19, which has pushed Manitoba’s total number of cases to 14,907. The current five-day test-positivity rate in Manitoba is now 14 per cent.

The majority of these cases were once again in the Winnipeg Health Region, which reported 213 cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday, bringing the test positivity rate in the region to 14 per cent.

The other cases reported on Wednesday include:

  • 22 cases in the Interlake-Eastern Health Region;
  • 30 cases in the Northern Health Region;
  • 11 cases in the Prairie Mountain Health Region; and
  • 73 cases in the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region.

The province also reported 260 more recoveries, bringing the total number of Manitobans listed as recovered to 5,893.

Roussin said the daily caseloads continue to put a strain on the health care system. He said as of Wednesday, 303 people are in hospital, including 50 people in Intensive care.

Along with these hospitalizations, the province also reported COVID-19 outbreaks had been declared at the Woodhaven Manor in Steinbach and the Lions Manor in Winnipeg.

“Our health-care providers on those front lines are overwhelmed – these number of cases and number of deaths reported can’t become the norm,” Roussin said.

“The message is quite clear – it is to stay home and leave only for essential reasons. That is the best way that we can quickly reduce the amount of contacts we have and thus bring down the number of cases.”

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