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Virus found in workers and patient at BRHC – Brandon Sun



The Brandon Regional Health Centre’s main entrance is pictured. (File)

Two cases of COVID-19 linked to the Assiniboine Centre at the Brandon Regional Health Centre over the weekend were found in health-care workers and the third was found in a patient, chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said Monday.

The patient likely contracted the virus at the facility, according to Roussin.

“It looks like we had a client who tested positive who had been admitted much longer than the incubation period and then we had the two staff who tested positive,” he said. “That’s the only connection we can come up with right now. … This client was certainly in too long to have been exposed outside the facility.”

These three cases at the hospital were first identified on Sunday, but more specifics were not provided until Monday’s COVID briefing. A government spokesperson said in an email that only those who are considered to have been in close contact with people who tested positive will be contacted by health officials.

In a statement emailed to the Sun, Manitoba Nurses Union president Darlene Jackson said her union is not aware of any of the positive cases in Brandon being nurses. Jackson also expressed concern regarding the outbreaks at Brandon care homes and called for greater transparency from the government.

Fairview Personal Care Home in Brandon. (Tim Smith/The Brandon Sun)

Fairview Personal Care Home in Brandon. (Tim Smith/The Brandon Sun)

“In most cases, nurses learn of outbreaks in health facilities at the same time as the general public. We are advocating for improved information sharing with nurses and other health-care professionals, and believe enhanced transparency in the immediate and long term is critical for a robust and effective public health response to COVID-19.”

Additionally, Roussin announced that an investigation discovered that a previously identified case of COVID-19 is a health-care worker at the Fairview Personal Care Home in Brandon and is a close contact of a previously known case. Close contacts of the health-care worker are being identified and the case investigation continues.

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Though the risk of transmission is considered low, the entire Fairview Personal Care Home has been moved to level red in the province’s health restriction system and outbreak protocols are being undertaken to reduce the risk to staff and residents. This means that like that the Hillcrest Place and Rideau Park care homes in Brandon, visitations are being restricted.

Asked about what concerns he has about the health-care system with cases found in four facilities in Brandon and a care home in Steinbach, Roussin said he believes there has been a bit of a breakdown when it comes to people following preventive guidelines.

“We’ve seen on a number of occasions out in the public with the spread in Brandon that there’s a lot of fatigue out there with adhering to the fundamentals, adhering to the guidelines that did such a good job of protecting us in that first wave,” Roussin said. “When we see the spread in these personal care homes, we can see that it’s challenging to be using PPE consistently, it’s challenging to do that for so long.”

Hillcrest Place Personal Care Home in Brandon. (Tim Smith/The Brandon Sun)

Hillcrest Place Personal Care Home in Brandon. (Tim Smith/The Brandon Sun)

Most of Brandon is still under level orange, but the second floor of the Assiniboine Centre at the hospital as well as the three care homes named above are under level red. As reported last week, the Brandon School Division is operating under less severe level yellow restrictions.

Officials are also warning that possible exposure to the virus may have occurred at Frederickson Performance Centre at Unit F-1212 18th St. in Brandon from 7 to 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 17 and from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 23. The risk of transmission is considered low, but those potentially exposed and having symptoms appear are encouraged to get tested.

During the briefing, Roussin was asked why Manitoba hasn’t signed on to the federal government’s contact tracing smartphone app eight days before school starts. He said that the federal government decides what order provinces join the app and it hasn’t been Manitoba’s turn yet. He added that the help won’t eliminate the need for other contact tracing measures.

In total, there were 28 new cases of COVID-19 detected as of 9:30 a.m. Monday, including 13 in Prairie Mountain Health. The number of active cases in Brandon has risen to 168, with 127 people having recovered.

There were also seven cases found in the Winnipeg health region, six cases in the Southern Health-Santé Sud health region and two in the Interlake-Eastern health region.

Of the cases announced Monday, 14 were related to close contact with previously identified cases and one was related to travel. In the last week, Public Health has been unable to identify a source for 32 cases, 16 of which were in Prairie Mountain Health. Since July 1, there have been 423 cases detected in Prairie Mountain Health.

Roussin said that there are 83 cases linked to employees at “a business in Brandon,” which is how he has previously described the cases connected to Maple Leaf Foods’ pork processing plant. While the government’s numbers and the union representing workers’ numbers didn’t line up last week, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 832 communications director Chris Noto said their figures also list 83 cases among their members.

A further 20 cases link to the business cluster and the Prairie Mountain Health cluster, Roussin said.

In the province as a whole, there are 469 active cases, with 11 people hospitalized and one person in intensive care. Manitoba’s five-day test positivity rate is now at 2.1 per cent. There have been 280 cases linked to communal living, 115 of them currently active.

Effective today, all visitors to health-care facilities in Manitoba will be required to wear a non-medical mask to be allowed to enter. Those exempt are people who cannot put on or take off a mask without assistance, those who have a medical condition that prevents them from safely wearing a mask or children under five years of age.

On Thursday, travel restrictions for northern Manitoba and isolated communities are being reinstated. Those exempt from those restrictions are residents of those regions or people intending to set up a permanent residence, people travelling directly to lodges and campgrounds, government staff, health providers, people seeking emergency health care, business owners and operators and travel related to parenting arrangements.

Full details of those travel restrictions will be posted online on Thursday. Roussin also encouraged Manitobans to obey travel restrictions put in place by First Nations communities.


» Twitter: @ColinSlark

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



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.



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



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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