COVID-19 cases in Manitoba continue to plummet, with 22 new recoveries from the disease announced April 24.
Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba chief public health officer, announced one new case in the April 24 provincial COVID-19 briefing, bringing the province’s detected number of active cases to 61 total. Since the outbreak began, 263 cases have been reported in the province.
“We’ve been able to affect the transmission of the virus, but we need to be cautious,” Roussin said.
“If we loosen up too quickly we can see these numbers again rise.”
Manitoba processed more than 750 tests at Cadham Provincial Laboratory April 23, the highest number at the lab in over a week. Roussin said messaging on expanded testing criteria is causing more people to get tested.
“People with symptoms, even if they’re mild respiratory symptoms, and you think you fit our criteria, please call Health Links for further advice,” Roussin said.
Everyone who lives in northern Manitoba and is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms are eligible to be tested according to provincial health orders. Roussin said the province is planning on announcing plans to slowly open Manitoba up next week. Saskatchewan released a similar plan April 23, with non-essential medical service, fishing and golf courses scheduled to open in early or mid-May.
Not many Manitobans have been fined for breaking public health orders, but Roussin guessed that might change when restrictions loosen.
“Having people adhere to those properly is going to be very vital to our success at being able to loosen up the restrictions,” he said.
“Our numbers show most Manitobans have been following our advice.”
All non-essential travel from southern Manitoba to northern Manitoba is not allowed under a provincial order. Roussin has said he expects some intra-provincial travel restrictions to remain in place in the long term.
Active cases in Manitoba have steadily dropped throughout the week, starting above 100 and dropping consistently since.
“Some of the numbers for this first bit show evidence of a possible peak, but we can’t confirm that at this point,” Roussin said.
“It’s going to depend on the actions of Manitobans because we can certainly see a climb in cases if we loosen up too quickly.”
Manitoba’s low case numbers might mean the province is vulnerable to a second wave of the virus.
“We’re going to have to stay vigilant and follow what’s happening in other jurisdictions,” Roussin said.
“We do need to anticipate other waves of this virus.”
Roussin also said no one should ingest or inject disinfectant to stop the virus.