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PMH tallies 32 new COVID cases over the weekend – Brandon Sun

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RUTH BONNEVILLE

Manitoba’s chief provincial health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, holds a press conference at the Legislative Building on Friday. Roussin hosted a weekend press conference for the first time in a while on Sunday. (RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

The province reported 51 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba over the weekend—16 on Saturday and 35 on Sunday—including a total of 32 in the Prairie Mountain Health region.

The 35 new overall cases revealed on Sunday marks the second-highest one-day jump since the start of the pandemic.

Of the 20 new PMH cases announced on Sunday, Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer, announced in a rare weekend news conference that at least seven of these cases are connected to a single business in Brandon.

Although Roussin mentioned that the seven affected individuals are self-isolating, and that there was no evidence of workplace transmission, he would not name the specific business in question when asked.

However, this announcement follows a week where at least 10 workers from the Maple Leaf Foods pork processing plant in Brandon have tested positive for the virus.

And as of Sunday evening, UFCW Local 832 president Jeff Traeger told the Sun that eight additional positive cases of COVID-19 were discovered at Maple Leaf Brandon over the weekend, bringing their total amount of known cases up to 18.

“These new cases strengthen our call on Maple Leaf Brandon to close for a one-week period until all test results are in, and the situation is under control,” Traeger wrote in this email. 

Over the weekend, several other businesses in the Wheat City closed their doors or significantly reduced their services due to concerns that one of their workers might have contracted COVID-19. This includes Marino’s Pizza, the McDonald’s restaurant on Victoria Avenue and the Shoppers Drug Mart also located on Victoria.

Employees from a local Walmart and a Tim Hortons restaurant on Highway 1 also tested positive for COVID-19 last week, prompting the latter establishment to shut down so it can be thoroughly sanitized.

In general, Roussin said on Sunday that this growing cluster in Brandon was approaching and may have exceeded 40 people.

Otherwise, this batch of new cases over the weekend brings Manitoba’s total number of lab-confirmed positive and probable positive cases up to 542.

Sunday’s COVID-19 data also shows that six people are currently hospitalized, with three individuals being in intensive care.

Overall, the province is now contending with 182 active cases in Manitoba, with 352 individuals having recovered from the virus.

Manitoba’s COVID-19 related death rate remains at eight.

While Roussin admits that the recent spike in new cases is discouraging, he implores Manitoba to remain vigilant and stick to the essentials of good social distancing: vigorous hand-washing, avoiding crowded indoor spaces and staying at home if you feel ill.

“Our concern has never gone away,” he said. “We’ve had to find ways to continue to articulate to Manitobans that we have to be careful. And certainly, as we see these numbers go up, we’re going to increase that messaging.”

An additional 756 laboratory tests were completed on Saturday, bringing the total number of tests completed since early February to 100,830.

» kdarbyson@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @KyleDarbyson

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COVID-19 case count increases in Manitoba; two more deaths reported – ThePeterboroughExaminer.com

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WINNIPEG—Manitoba’s chief public health officer says he’s worried by an increase in COVID-19 cases in Winnipeg and that some people are going to many different locations while symptomatic.

“It’s concerning,” Dr. Brent Roussin said Monday.

The number of active cases in the capital city has almost tripled to more than 280 since the start of September. Sixteen of 22 new provincial cases reported Monday were in Winnipeg.

The province identified several Winnipeg restaurants, bars and gyms as sites of possible exposures over the last week. There have also been cases in schools and from gatherings in homes.

Roussin said the number of contacts for each person who tests positive has increased, which is putting pressure on staff tasked with tracking them. One person who tested positive in Winnipeg had 50 contacts, according to recently released data in the province’s public health report for the week of Sept. 6 to 12.

Roussin said mandating masks and bringing back other restrictions are on the table. But for now, the province is monitoring the situation.

Roussin is encouraging people to wear masks even if not officially required.

“If the vast majority of Manitobans want to wear a mask in indoor public places, we don’t really need a mask mandate.”

Roussin also announced that two more Manitobans have died after testing positive for COVID-19. That brings the total in the province to 18. The recent deaths were of a man in his 80s in the southern health region and a woman in her 80s in the Prairie Mountain region.

Those areas saw a resurgence in positive cases in July and August. As a result, specific regulations around masks and group sizes were put in place in Prairie Mountain, which includes Brandon. Infection numbers in those regions have since dropped, while cases in Winnipeg have surged.

The surge prompted the captain of the National Hockey League’s Winnipeg Jets to make a request on social media for mandatory masks.

“Time for universal mask mandate. Why not? Let’s take care of each other,” read a post on Blake Wheeler’s Twitter account, directed to Premier Brian Pallister.

When asked about the request, the premier said he would defer to health experts.

“I personally have a ton of affection for Blake Wheeler and the way he plays hockey,” Pallister said.

“To make sure that we get through this together, we have to demonstrate that we can respect those who we’ve put in a position of trusted leadership. And Brent Roussin’s been put in that position and it’s really important we respect that.

“It doesn’t mean we have to agree with everything Brent says or does — that’s not what I’m saying. But I am saying that I am going to respect … what our experienced public health officials decide.”

Also Monday, the government revealed details of how it will spend its $85.4-million share of recently announced federal funding to help schools during the pandemic.

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Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen said the money is to help enhance remote learning for students who can’t attend classes, such as those with chronic health conditions who are advised by doctors to not attend.

Remote learning is also available for some high school students in more-crowded schools and for students whose classes have been temporarily cancelled due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

Goertzen said the province is not expanding remote learning to make it an option for any student who wants it.

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Two more Alberta schools with in-school transmission; 1,459 active cases province-wide – Calgary Herald

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There are two schools in the province with outbreaks of five or more cases, including St. Wilfrid Elementary in Calgary and Vimy Ridge School. And the list of Calgary schools with outbreaks of two to four cases now includes Notre Dame High School, Lester B. Pearson High School, Henry Wise Wood High School, Auburn Bay School, Crescent Heights High School, Chris Akkerman School, Saddle Ridge School and Apostles of Jesus.

“Every single Albertan can make school reopening successful by working to limit and minimize community transmission. And again, that’s the message I want to make sure everyone understands,” said Hinshaw.

Meanwhile in British Columbia, the Ministry of Health has removed 10 symptoms from the student health checklist — including sore throat, runny nose, headache and fatigue — because they are common in children and there’s a low probability these symptoms by themselves are indications of COVID-19.

When asked if this is something being considered in Alberta, Hinshaw said it has been discussed at length because of the pressures the current checklist puts on families that have to adjust their daily schedules when they need to keep their child home from school because of a runny nose.

“In Alberta, we are not far enough along yet to know whether or not we could take some of those symptoms off of our list, without increasing the risk that COVID-19 could be introduced into the school,” she explained.

“We try to reach the right balance between keeping our kids in school, and making sure that their learning is as smooth as possible while at the same time, minimizing the risk of the COVID-19 introduction and spread. Right now, we are keeping our symptom list as is.”

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Five more Manitoba healthcare workers test positive for COVID-19 – CTV News Winnipeg

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WINNIPEG —
Five Manitoba healthcare workers tested positive for COVID-19 in the span of a week.

The latest numbers from the Manitoba government’s surveillance data, from Sept. 6 to 12, shows that a total of 88 healthcare workers have contracted the disease since the beginning of the pandemic. This is an increase of five healthcare workers compared to the week before.

Of these 88 workers, 74 have recovered from COVID-19 and gone back to work.

According to the data, which monitors the intensity, characteristics, transmission and geographic spread of the disease, 29 of these workers are healthcare aids, 23 are nurses, nine are physicians or physicians in training, five are social/support workers, four are medical clerks and 18 fall into a combined category.

The majority of the 88 workers – 64 per cent – contracted the disease through close contact with a known case, about 13 per cent got it from travel, and for the rest of the cases, the source is unknown.

The province is reporting that a total of 20 pregnant Manitobans have gotten COVID-19, which is an increase of two pregnant cases from the week before.

During the week of Sept. 6 to 12, there were three more COVID-19 outbreaks in Manitoba, bringing the total number since the start of the pandemic to 20 outbreaks. Of these three new outbreaks, two were at long-term care facilities and one was at a school.

Over the span of this week, the province saw a decrease in terms of the number of confirmed cases and the volume of people going for tests. There were 108 lab-confirmed cases, which is down from 128 in the week before, and an average of 1,300 people were tested each day, down from 1,500 the previous week.

But, the province saw an increase in its test positivity rate, moving from 1.2 per cent last week to 1.4 per cent this week.

Of the 108 new cases during this week, 63 per cent were from Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, 14 per cent were from the Prairie Mountain Health Authority, and 13 per cent were in the Southern Health – Santé Sud Regional Health Authority. The Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority also accounted for about 10 per cent of cases.

The province is reporting that 57 per cent of the 108 cases were contracted through close contacts to known cases, and two per cent were from travel.

Of all of Manitoba’s cases, nearly 63 per cent contracted the disease from close contact with a known case. For more than 16 per cent, the cause is unknown, and approximately 15 per cent got it from travel.

For more than 5 per cent of cases, the source is still being investigated.

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