Manitoba issues slight provincial public health order changes, including for care home visits

Minor updates to Manitoba's public health orders were announced by the province April 8, including guidelines for personal care home visits, self-help meetings and liquor sales on golf courses.

Some changes to health restrictions were included in the province's daily COVID-19 briefing, along with the number of new cases throughout Manitoba and updates on variants of concern cases and deaths.

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The health order changes will go into effect April 9 at 12:01 a.m. and include allowing liquor cart services and sales on golf courses and increasing maximum attendance at self-help meetings to 25 people.

Perhaps the biggest change is in visitor guidelines for personal care homes. Starting April 9, up to two people can visit a resident at a Manitoba personal care home at once if the meeting is outdoors. One general visitor can visit a PCH resident in a designated visitation room or a COVisitation shelter - portable, specified shelters set up at some Manitoba care homes. Visits inside residents' rooms are limited to designated family caregivers and for compassionate reasons for residents who are near death.

All visitors will need to wear a medical-grade mask during their visits - facilities will provide the masks, according to provincial guidelines. 

"As the weather gets warmer, public health officials continue to recommend that visits take place outdoors as much as possible, as the risk of COVID-19 transmission is significantly less than in an indoor setting," reads the province's April 8 announcement.

Any changes to existing orders can be superceded in areas where outbreaks have been designated or by rules specifically tailored to certain areas, such as schools.

Other provincial health orders, including those for gathering sizes indoors and outdoors on private property, capacity limits for retail stores, restaurants and businesses and others, have not been changed. In the April 8 announcement, the province mentioned the rise in Manitoba's provincial test positivity rate and variants of concern cases as the key reason behind not approving further changes.

"Due to increasing test positivity rates and the risk posed by variants of concern in Manitoba at this time, the orders are being extended to April 30," reads the announcement.

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