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Manitoba reports 2nd-highest single-day jump in COVID-19 cases, with 65 Saturday – CBC.ca

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There are 65 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba on Saturday, the province said in a news release, including 56 in the Winnipeg health region.

The update is the second-highest single-day increase in cases in the province.

On Aug. 25, 72 new cases of the illness were announced in Manitoba. Twenty-four cases were later retroactively added to that total, bringing that day’s official case count to 96.

The Prairie Mountain, Interlake-Eastern and Southern health regions each have three new cases on Saturday.

There are now 545 active cases in the province, including 456 in the Winnipeg region, according to provincial data.

Twelve people are now hospitalized with the illness in Manitoba, including six in intensive care.

Manitoba’s five-day test positivity rate — a rolling average of the COVID-19 tests that come back positive — is down slightly to 2.3 per cent.

To date, there have been 1,829 COVID-19 cases detected in Manitoba; 1,265 people have recovered and 19 have died.

People in and around Winnipeg will have to wear face masks in indoor public places and keep gatherings to a maximum of 10 people starting Monday, officials announced on Friday.

The new rules come as the capital city and 17 nearby communities are moved to the orange, or “restricted,” level under the province’s colour-coded pandemic response system.

The restrictions will stay in place for at least four weeks, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said Friday.

That timeframe includes Thanksgiving, which is on Oct. 12 this year.

Other measures may still be brought in for bars and restaurants in the region, Roussin said, following consultation with people in that industry about how they can reduce the risk of people in those spaces spreading COVID-19.

Organizers of Nuit Blanche Winnipeg pulled the plug on art activities and installations scheduled for Saturday evening.

Instead, those events will be rescheduled throughout the month, between Sept. 25 and Oct. 25.

School, restaurant exposures

On Saturday, the province also announced an outbreak has been declared at the Heritage Lodge Long Term Care Home in Winnipeg, though a government spokesperson said that declaration actually happened on Thursday. The site has been moved to the red, or “critical,” level under the pandemic response system.

Possible exposures were also announced Saturday at three more schools and two more restaurants.

Someone with COVID-19 was at John W. Gunn Middle School in Winnipeg from Sept. 16 to Sept. 18, the release says, though public health investigations suggest that risk is low and the person did not get sick at school.

Classes will continue at John W. Gunn Middle School on Monday, after a possible exposure to COVID-19 at the school was announced on Saturday. (Travis Golby/CBC)

A spokesperson said the River East Transcona School Division learned about the exposure Friday evening. 

Classes at the school will continue on Monday, but any areas the person may have used were closed and will be sanitized, said Amanda Gaudes, the senior communications co-ordinator for the division.

A case of the illness has also been linked to R.J. Waugh Elementary School in Carberry on Sept. 21. That case involves someone who was on a school bus, the release says.

A person with COVID-19 in the southwestern Manitoba town was also at Carberry Collegiate on Sept. 21. One grade at that school is being sent home to learn remotely for up to 14 days starting Monday, the release says.

A case of the illness has also been linked to Del Rios restaurant on Main Street in Winkler. The sick person was at the restaurant on Sept. 16 from 6 to 7 p.m.

A case has also been connected to P.F. Chang’s restaurant on St. James Street in Winnipeg. A person with COVID-19 was at the restaurant on Sept. 12, 16 and 17 from 5 to 10 p.m.

Meanwhile, the province is still looking into ways to alleviate pressure and cut wait times at COVID-19 test sites, as increasing case numbers in the Winnipeg area have caused the demand for tests to spike.

Another 2,234 COVID-19 tests were done in the province on Friday, bringing Manitoba’s total to 175,867.

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Three Toronto hospitals dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks – Toronto Sun

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Three hospitals in Toronto are facing COVID-19 outbreaks, with several patients and staff confirmed to be infected.

St. Joseph’s Health Centre in the west end, as of this morning, has seven active COVID-19 positive patients and 11 active COVID-19 positive staff related to the outbreaks.

The total number of patient cases that tested positive for the virus at the hospital is 14, which includes the seven aforementioned patients as well as another seven unrelated to this outbreak, according to the hospital.

The outbreak stemmed from four units within the hospital — the 2L medicine unit, the 2E unit, the 3M unit and the 4E unit between Oct. 3 and Oct. 16.

“We are managing a significant number of confirmed COVID-19 cases at St. Joseph’s Health Centre,” said spokesperson Jennifer Stranges.

“Our patients, staff and community are our top priority, and we have implemented additional hospital-wide precautions to keep everyone safe.”

According to provincial health guidelines, a COVID-19 outbreak is defined as “at least two cases within a 14-day period where both could reasonably have been acquired” in a congregate setting.

Toronto Western Hospital on Bathurst at Dundas St. W. is pictured on Monday, October 19, 2020. Photo by Jack Boland /Toronto Sun

At Toronto Western Hospital, three patients and six staff members have tested positive for coronavirus.

Since Oct. 15, the outbreak has affected units 8A and 8B of the general internal medicine department in the hospital’s Fell Pavilion.

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According to University Health Network spokesperson Gillian Howard, additional testing of patients and staff is ongoing.

“The only new information is that there are no additional positive tests today from the swabbing that has been underway from Oct. 12 forward, so we remain at three patients and six staff with positive tests which may be hospital-acquired,” Howard said on Monday.

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The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health is also facing an outbreak at its Queen St. W. location after two patients fell ill and tested positive for the virus.

According to its website, the cases are tied to Unit 1-4.

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Struggling Manitoba hotel industry pleads for tax relief from province – CBC.ca

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Hotel owners in Manitoba are on edge as heightened pandemic restrictions come into force in Winnipeg and the surrounding area on Monday — and say they need government help to get through this.

“It’s like my worst nightmare ever. The impact is just, I can’t paint a more gloomy picture,” said Manitoba Hotel Association president and CEO Scott Jocelyn.

“It’s been a really tough seven or eight months dealing with all of this, and today we’ll see more challenges for our people. People are on edge. They’re very frustrated and really, really struggling.”

Starting Monday, stand-alone nightclubs, bars and beverage rooms (which are attached to hotels) must close, along with casinos, entertainment facilities with live entertainment, video lottery lounges and bingo halls.

Businesses licensed as restaurants and lounges can stay open but are limited to 50 per cent capacity and can only seat up to five people at a table.

The restrictions will stay in place at least two weeks and come as the Winnipeg region battles the worst surge of COVID-19 cases Manitoba has seen since the pandemic began.

Jocelyn said the provincial government has tried hard to balance the economy and the public’s safety through all of the measures it has instituted since March, “but the reality is, the protocols they’re putting upon us are having a huge impact on what we do.

“If people can’t travel into the city or the province, then we can’t put people in our rooms, we can’t hold events, we can’t have people congregating in our bars, in our restaurants. Everything we do is being impacted.”

Several broad assistance programs for business and individuals have been introduced by the province, but Jocelyn said the hotel association is hoping for specific relief.

Other provinces have better supported their hotel industry, he said.

“That’s one of the frustrations. Some of the things that have happened in other provinces — those provinces have handled them with some sector-specific relief, and the biggest one for us is paying the tax bill,” Jocelyn said. 

A hotel’s taxes are based on revenues, but from two years ago, he explained. 

“There isn’t a hotel in Manitoba that’s doing what they were doing two years ago [in terms of revenues due to COVID-19]. So how do you pay that bill?” Jocelyn said.

“They’ve weathered many storms but not a storm like this, and they really need some relief so they can continue to do all the great things that we do. We work hard for the province, we collect lots of taxes for the province in good times, and we need some help today.”

Jocelyn doesn’t believe the government knows how wounded the industry is, so his organization is just wrapping up a full economic impact study by accounting firm Meyers Norris Penny.

“We really need some numbers that we can put in front of them to paint that picture. I’m anxiously awaiting that report,” he said. He expects it will be released around the second week of November.

While some hotels in the province benefited from Manitobans taking stay-cations this year and exploring more of their own province, it’s not enough to turn the year around, Jocelyn said.

Some of the biggest hotels in Winnipeg have had single-digit occupancy rates after being closed for a few months due to COVID-19, he said.

“The stay-cation model, that’s not going to work for them.”

It’s difficult to remain viable when you’re only filling two out of every 10 rooms, agreed Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Loren Remillard, who echoed Jocelyn’s call for help.

“We need to have measures in place so we can ensure when we do get through this, we have a business community to return to, we have a restaurant sector, we have viable hotels and an arts and culture community that’s still vibrant.”

While there have been hardships across-the-board in the business community since the onset of the pandemic, those sectors have been disproportionately damaged, Remillard said. When the economy reopened in phases through late spring and early summer, they did not see a significant bounce back.

The restaurant, hotels and arts and culture communities have taken a big hit since the pandemic began, says the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

The restrictions that kicked in Monday will exacerbate an already-precarious situation, he said.

The business community fully understands the need, around public health, to implement those conditions, but it is “frustrating” to not see a corresponding level of relief measures in Manitoba for those hard-hit industries, he said.

For perspective, the Quebec government set aside $100 million to help businesses cover 80 per cent of fixed expenses such as rent and electricity for shuttered bars and restaurants, Remillard noted, adding that Saskatchewan’s government has specific funding streams for hotels, hospitality and the event industry.

Rainbow Stage was one of the many attractions that went quiet due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Kayla Kocian/Rainbow Stage)

On Friday, when the latest restrictions were revealed, Manitoba Health Minister Cameron Friesen said it’s too early to talk about providing financial assistance to businesses impacted by the measures.

Remillard strong disagrees.

“We needed to be talking about this months ago. There is no too soon,” he said. “Two weeks is a lifetime for a business that’s holding on on a day-to-day basis.

“We need government to be a partner with the business community, to say ‘we recognize the difficulty you’re in and that it’s made worse by these necessary public health measures. We’re here to work with you to find solutions to ensure that you remain viable.'”

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New COVID-19 restrictions in effect for Winnipeg today – CityNews Winnipeg

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WINNIPEG (CITYNEWS) – It was a moment of exasperation from Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman.

While addressing the rising cases of COVID-19 in the city at a press conference last week, Bowman urged everyone capable of doing so to “wear a friggin’ mask.”

That frustration will certainly be echoed by many Winnipeggers who find themselves subject to a slew of new restrictions beginning today.

For the next two weeks, gatherings will be limited to five people and a maximum of five people will be allowed to sit together at a restaurant.

Beverage rooms, bingo halls and casinos will have to close. Restaurants, lounges and retail stores will be limited to half capacity.

Health officials say the measures were prompted by growing community transmission of the novel coronavirus, and data that shows many cases have been connected to people socializing in bars, restaurants and homes.

“We need to reduce our community transmission of this virus, we need to reduce the number of hospitalizations and deaths,” said Manitoba chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin last week. “And to do that, we need to keep our contacts down and focus on the fundamentals.

“We can make a change in a quick manner.”

A month ago, Winnipeg accounted for 184 of Manitoba’s 241 total active cases. Now, there are more than 1,400 active cases in Winnipeg – the bulk of the province’s 1,675.

Manitoba health officials reported two more deaths on Sunday. A man and woman in their 70s from the Winnipeg health region were the province’s 39th and 40th death.

The new restrictions are expected to impact several aspects of Winnipeggers’ day-to-day lives.

“Things like sporting events, only one parent should go with the child, if possible,” said Roussin. “The entire family shouldn’t go shopping together. Send one person if possible.” 

Roussin is also urging people to stay home all at costs if they are symptomatic.

“People are going out gathering with friends, going to party while ill, going to work while ill. We know for our success moving forward, we have to stop going out when we’re ill.”

The opposite is true when it comes to testing facilities, said Manitoba’s top doctor.

“We want to see symptomatic testing,” he said. “If you don’t have any symptoms, if you haven’t been directed by public health to be tested, please do not go for testing.”

–with files from The Canadian Press

Province to give COVID-19 update

Posted by CityNews Winnipeg on Friday, October 16, 2020

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