According to northern elected officials and a series of social media posts, Flin Flon may have its first reported case of COVID-19, despite a lack of confirmation from provincial and regional health agents.
The person is reportedly a Flin Flon resident in their 20s. A public Facebook post made by a person claiming to be a family member of the person who tested positive stated the person had been on vacation in Mexico. The affected person returned to Canada March 13, coming back to Flin Flon a day later.
The post said the person self-isolated March 15 after seeing a Manitoba government recommendation to all travellers coming into Canada from abroad to self-isolate and self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days after arrival. The Manitoba government began telling incoming travellers to self-isolate during a media briefing March 14.
While some flights from Mexico into Canada, including into Winnipeg and Regina, have been flagged as potential COVID-19 risks, no cases have been linked to any flights March 13.
The post said the person, who travelled with a partner, was tested for COVID-19 March 23 and received a positive test result back March 29. The person who tested positive was reported to have visited a local bar at one point before self-isolating. The partner is reportedly in self-isolation and was told to self-monitor for symptoms.
The Reminder has chosen not to publish the name or further identifying characteristics of the person for privacy concerns.
The first public announcement of a potential positive COVID-19 case in Flin Flon came from elected officials. Niki Ashton, the Member of Parliament representing Flin Flon, announced through her social media pages that a positive test had been confirmed in Flin Flon.
“Received news tonight that a case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Flin Flon. Very concerned about the individual and concerned for our north,” read Ashton’s post, put out at around 11:30 p.m. Sunday night.
Flin Flon MLA Tom Lindsey added a similar note to his own pages minutes later.
“Flin Flon has its first confirmed case of COVID-19. I wish a speedy recovery for the individual. Please everyone, practice physical distance if you must go out, with limited contact. Wash your hands frequently, but stay home if you can,” Lindsey’s post read.
Neither Ashton or Lindsey cited a public source of information in their posts.
As of March 29, no cases of COVID-19 had been reported from within the boundaries of the Northern Health Region (NHR), spanning through Flin Flon, The Pas, Thompson and most of northern Manitoba. The NHR was the only region to not have a reported case of COVID-19 as of March 29.
The veracity of the posts or information has not been confirmed by health officials or the province. When reached for comment, an NHR spokesperson did not confirm or deny whether a case had been reported in Flin Flon, adding any new confirmed or presumptive cases would be mentioned during the provincial government’s daily briefing.
“Health officials will neither confirm nor deny new cases before that time. Reports of confirmed cases will be reported by regional health authority, not by community,” said the spokesperson. Any new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba announced by the province have been sorted by the health region that reported them, with the community the cases originate from often not being mentioned.
“New COVID-19 cases are reported daily at media briefings by Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer at the briefing, which is held 1 p.m. daily.”
When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Shared Health Manitoba also said they could not confirm or deny any possible Flin Flon cases.
During the March 30 media briefing from the provincial government, one confirmed case was reported within the NHR’s area. It is not confirmed whether that case is the same as the suspected case in Flin Flon.