Manitoba COVID-19 cases break 100, update on mining rules

Seven new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Manitoba, moving the total count of positive tests in the province to 103 in total.

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba chief public health officer, announced the new cases in a media briefing March 31. Three of the 103 people are in hospital. Four have recovered from the disease. One Manitoban has died.

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Roussin said in the briefing a health care worker in Selkirk had tested positive for the disease and gave the dates and times when the person worked with the virus. CBC Manitoba reported a nurse in Winnipeg also is self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19.

Roussin said Manitoba is planning on only reporting infected health care workers if there are public health concerns.

“It can certainly be reassessed, we certainly will release it when it has a public health implication,” he said.

“Just as you saw today, we'll definitely continue to do that and any information that has relevance to the health of the public as far as health care workers go, that's something that we'll be reviewing.”

Roussin said the province has conducted nearly 9,000 tests and hopes to expand testing to all symptomatic people soon.

“If you have mild symptoms, stay home. If you're unsure, call health links,” he said.

“Social distancing strategies have put a lot of strain on Manitobans, but they are necessary.”

Roussin provided more details on the province-wide shutdown, confirming mining operations like 777 mine in Flin Flon and Lalor mine in Snow Lake are named as essential businesses.

“All of these actions that we take are a balance,” he said.

“Ideally, everyone would stay home, but we can't function that way. There'll be a greater impact on health, if we did that.”

Roussin said companies should still be following social distancing regulations in work camps.

“Regardless of whether you're named in the order or not, employers, individuals and organizations, need to take physical distancing very seriously,” he said.

“We've worked with different camps to put in processes that limit the risks of this. Physical distancing, social distancing - you don't need an order to help Manitoba.”

The Reminder has reached out to Hudbay for comment on if operations will be changing with the new orders. The company has not yet responded to requests for comment.

Manitoba chief nursing officer Lanette Siracusa announced the province was recruiting nurses to help deal with an anticipated surge of cases. Potential candidates should email covid19recruitment@sharedhealth.mb.ca.

She also called on any company who has medical supplies to donate them to the province to help sustain workers. There is no drop off point in northern Manitoba, but businesses are encouraged to call 1-833-408-0101 if they have anything to donate.

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