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Manitoba sets grim record with 72 new cases – Winnipeg Free Press



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Manitoba reported 72 new cases of COVID-19 Sunday, eclipsing the previous record — established just the day before — for the highest daily case total since the pandemic began.

The spike in cases is being driven by clusters on “multiple” Hutterite colonies, but Manitoba’s chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin is refusing to say how many colonies have been impacted by the virus.

The grim milestone comes on the heels of the 42 cases announced Saturday — at the time the worst daily total Manitobans had seen — and continues a concerning trend of worsening test-positivity rates that have rocked the province during the past month.

Manitoba’s five-day test-positivity rate currently sits at 2.7 per cent. In the past, Roussin has said if that number hits three per cent, the province may have to look at increased restrictions.

Of the 72 cases announced Sunday, 47 were linked to what Roussin called “communal living communities” where public health officials recently conducted “proactive testing campaigns.”

“The increased amount of testing is indicative of the communities taking this seriously and trying to work with public health,” Roussin said.

“The vast majority of the transmissions we see are from close, prolonged contact, and that includes household members, and so if the nature of your living situation has more close contacts than we’re more likely to see transmission.”

Forty-five of the new cases were from the Prairie Mountain health region, 16 from the Southern Regional Health Authority, nine from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, one from the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority and one from the Northern health region.

Roussin confirmed the northern case is not on a First Nations community. And despite calls from First Nations advocates and organizations to tighten travel restrictions up north, Roussin said the province has no plans to do so at this time.

Kenny Wollmann, a member of the Hutterian Safety Council’s COVID-19 task force, said he’s worried the recent uptick in cases could lead to increased stigmatization for Hutterite communities, stressing that the vast majority of them are taking the pandemic very seriously.

But as a “visible cultural minority,” Wollmann said stigmatization is nothing new for Hutterites.

“Cases have always been expected in Hutterite communities since the province began reopening and we’ve been preparing for a day just like today,” Wollmann said.

“The communities are responding well and if a community refuses to respond well we’re confident Manitoba public health has the tools in its toolbox to respond accordingly.”

Since March, the Hutterian Safety Council’s COVID-19 task force has been attempting to educate and inform various colonies on what steps they need to take to protect themselves during the pandemic.

Wollmann said most colonies have been receptive to the task force’s message and have taken concrete action to address the threat posed by the virus. But he concedes — just as in wider society — a minority of people on colonies are skeptical of the idea the pandemic poses a serious public health threat at all.

“We have people who have been very proactive from the beginning and have taken this very seriously. At the same time, we’re dealing with some people who are very dismissive of COVID-19 and think it’s a scheme by somebody designed to do something bad,” Wollmann said.

“We deal with the same variety of responses the rest of society has been dealing with.”

Of Manitoba’s 944 cases of COVID-19, 356 remain active while 576 are classified as “recovered.” Seven people are currently in hospital, including one in the intensive care unit, while 12 people have died.

More than 1,800 tests were performed Saturday and the five-day test positivity rate is 2.7 per cent.

Health Minister Cameron Friesen urged Manitobans to look beyond Sunday’s “large number” of new cases and understand the province cannot be “defensive and changing, broadly, our direction with every hiccup that comes along — we do need to learn to live with the virus.”

With flu season approaching, Roussin said the province is aware it will “see increased respiratory illness.” He suggests employers, and society more broadly, should prepare for “absentee rates that we probably haven’t experienced before.”

Roussin also said Manitobans should not just focus on total COVID-19 case counts. Equally important is the extent to which community spread exists and whether there’s a strain on the healthcare system, he said.

Meanwhile, NDP Leader Wab Kinew called upon the provincial government to mandate mask usage in all indoor public places, as well as certain outdoors public spaces where “you may cross paths with large groups.”

“Manitoba should mandate masks… We need to take strong action now because what we do today will determine how much community spread is happening when kids go back to school in a few weeks,” Kinew said.

“If we don’t do anything now to arrest that spread, it’s going to accelerate right at a time when kids are going back into the classrooms, and they could then become vectors for increased community transmission.”

Twitter: @rk_thorpe

Ryan Thorpe

Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.

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Sore throat, runny nose among symptoms removed from student health checklist, province confirms –



The list of symptoms parents are urged to screen their kids for each morning before they send them to school has gotten shorter.

Since the reopening of schools across the province, parents have been asked to monitor their children for symptoms of COVID-19, with districts releasing a daily health checklist. Fever, chills, and shortness of breath are among the 17 symptoms parents were told to screen for.

Kids that exhibited any of the symptoms were urged to stay home.

But that list of symptoms has been reduced, B.C.’s Ministry of Health has confirmed. Ten symptoms have been removed, including sore throat, runny nose, headache, and fatigue. Districts have since released updated daily health checklists.

“This was a recommendation from public health to remove some of the symptoms, given the very low probability of these symptoms by themselves indicating COVID,” the ministry said in an e-mailed statement.

“They are also very common in children so there are concerns that it would unnecessarily exclude children,” said the ministry.

The bulk of the symptoms removed from the daily health check for students are still included in both B.C.’s self-assessment tool and the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s list of COVID-19 symptoms.

Some parents concerned

Parents like North Vancouver’s Amitis Khorsandi say the sudden change has reignited health concerns she had before sending her five-year-old to kindergarten. She fears some COVID-19-positive students could slip through the cracks.

“A lot of people made tough decisions to go back to school, and we’re all taking a risk to send our kids … and then within a week, or less than a week, the rules have already changed,” she said.

Parents are asked to screen children for the following symptoms daily:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough or worsening of chronic cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting

The following symptoms have been removed from the daily checklist:

  • Sore throat
  • Runny/stuffy nose
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle aches
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Dizziness, confusion
  • Abdominal pain
  • Skin rash or discolouration of fingers and toes

The ministry says it’s still important to seek medical assessment if children are exhibiting a combination of symptoms.

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Will there be a twindemic? Fighting COVID-19 means fighting the flu – Ottawa Citizen



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The flu presents its own dangers. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, there are an average of about 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths related to the flu every year. Based on laboratory testing, there were 42,541 cases of seasonal influenza in 2019-2020.

“Everyone should get the flu vaccine this year,” Wilson said. “It’s a no-brainer.”

Concern about a potential twindemic is not overblown, epidemiologist Dr. Jeff Kwong said.

“Most health care workers would say we’re barely managing in a normal flu season. We’re always on the verge of collapse. If you add COVID, we’re in big trouble,”  said Kwong, a professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

“The biggest problem with how we view influenza is that there are other respiratory viruses circulating,” he said. “The flu is a whole bunch of viruses with a whole bunch of different presentations. They’re impossible to distinguish without lab tests.”

If people let down their guard on measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, such as wearing masks, physical distancing and hand hygiene, there will be a twindemic, Kwong said.

“If people keep having parties, we’ll have influenza. But, if you can control COVID, you can control influenza.”

It is also possible, but rare, to be infected with flu and COVID-19 at the same time. A study published in June in the Journal of Medical Virology found that, among 1,103 patients who had been diagnosed with COVID‐19 in three hospitals in Istanbul, Turkey, six were diagnosed as also being infected with influenza. Co-infected patients have been reported in China, Germany, Iran,  Japan, Spain and the United States.

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Manitoba sees 29 new COVID-19 cases, warns of exposures on bus, at restaurants – Global News



Manitoba public health officials have identified 29 new cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday morning.

One case previously reported on Sept. 19 was removed from the case totals. This means the total net new cases today is 28, bringing the number of cases in Manitoba to 1,586.

  • 2 cases in the Interlake–Eastern health region
  • 3 cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region
  • 1 case in the Southern Health–Santé Sud
  • 23 cases in the Winnipeg health region

Right now there are 354 known active cases and 1,216 individuals have recovered from COVID-19.

Coronavirus: Manitoba Premier says throne speech must focus on the health of Canadians

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There are currently 11 people in hospital and three people in intensive care, meanwhile, the number of deaths due to COVID-19 is 16.

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Public health officials have sent a letter to parents about a possible exposure to COVID-19 at the Munroe Early Childhood Education Centre Preschool at 505 Chalmers Ave. in Winnipeg on Sept. 14 in the morning and afternoon.

The province says based on the public health investigation, close contacts have been identified and contacted directly by public health officials with advice to self-isolate.

Health officials say the centre will remain open to all other children and staff, who can continue to attend the centre in person and the centre has closed off areas used by the infected person and will not use these areas until after the space has been cleaned.

Public Health is also advising of possible exposures to COVID-19:

  • Café La Scala at 725 Corydon Avenue in Winnipeg on Friday, Sept. 11 from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. and Saturday, Sept. 12 from 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Public health officials say the restaurant has been closed while case investigations are underway.
  • The Local Public Eatery at 274 Garry St. in Winnipeg on Friday, Sept. 11 and Saturday, Sept. 12. The province says the restaurant had been closed while public health investigations were underway but has since reopened.
  • XXI Lounge at 1011 Pembina Highway in Winnipeg on Friday, Sept. 11 from 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 12 from 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. and Sunday, Sept. 13 from 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. The province says the site had been closed while public health investigations were underway but has since reopened.
  • Winnipeg Transit, John Pritchard School Route S412 on Monday, Sept. 14 and Tuesday, Sept. 15 from Headmaster/Mildred to John Pritchard School from approximately 8:15 a.m. to 8:40 a.m. and from John Pritchard School to Headmaster/Mildred from approximately 3 p.m. to 3:25 p.m.

Read more:
Two more Manitoba restaurants dinged for public health violations during pandemic

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Health officials say there has been a concerning increase in the number of cases in Winnipeg, with many cases having large numbers of close contacts.

The chief provincial public health officer strongly encourages residents of and visitors to Winnipeg to focus on these fundamentals to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Preliminary laboratory testing numbers show 1,216 on Saturday, bringing the total number of lab tests completed since early February to 164,177.

Public health officials advise the current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 1.9 per cent.

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

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