Fourteen more Manitobans test positive for COVID-19, nothing confirmed in north

Overall COVID-19 cases have spiked in Manitoba, according to information released by the province March 25.

Manitoba officials had been anticipating a spike of positive COVID-19 tests and it came March 25. The province’s chief provincial health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, announced 14 new probable cases of the disease at the Manitoba government's latest update.

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Most of the cases - 11 in all - are within Winnipeg, including the first positive test province-wide for someone under 10 years old and a woman in her 60s currently in intensive care.

Two cases were from communities covered by Southern Health-Sante Sud with one from a community covered by Prairie Mountain Health. The Northern Health Region is the lone remaining regional health authority in Manitoba without a positive test as of March 25.

“It's still not too late,” Roussin said.

“Starting today, increasing your compliance with the social distancing measures will help protect you, the people around you and even our community from the impacts of this virus.”

Lanette Siracusa, Manitoba’s chief nursing officer, said tests could be performed in remote communities and officials were working with far-flung locations in Manitoba to help them practice proper social distancing measures.

Manitoba is currently experiencing a backlog of completed tests, due in large part of a lack of access to a reagent necessary for testing. Roussin added the Cadham Provincial Laboratory had found a “workaround” to help work through a lack of testing supplies, anticipating Manitoba’s backlog of tests should be eliminated by the end of the week.

“We’ve developed a priority list that will expand with our testing capacity,” Roussin said.

Roussin said the first people to get tests will be health care workers when their capacity increases.

Manitoba is still investigating some of the fourteen new cases, but have been able to link the majority of cases to recent travel or direct contact with an already infected person.

“We’re not seeing any pop-up cases,” Roussin said.

He added that emergency rooms across the province have not seen an increase in respiratory sickness.

Roussin continued to call for any Manitoban who makes non-necessary travel outside the province to self-isolate for 14 days after returning. He said that some people had broken self-isolation to go to receive health care, but did not tell doctors on their arrival.

“We want Manitobans to start working together,” he said.

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