Signs of community COVID-19 transmission in Manitoba: health officer

Twenty-four new cases reported, total of Manitoba positive tests jumps to 127

Manitoba is now reporting possible community transmission of COVID-19.

Provincial chief health officer Dr. Brent Roussin announced officials have seen early signs of community transmission of COVID-19 in Winnipeg April 1. He also announced 24 new positive tests for the disease, bringing the province’s total to 127 cases.

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“This is the point in time where we would begin to initiate our social distancing strategies,” Roussin said.

“We have been ahead of this and have had many of these strategies in place.”

Roussin reported there have been a handful of cases in Manitoba which have no discernable link to recent travel.

"These ones are still under investigation. We've seen about four or five cases we cannot link to travel or a known transmission chain," he said.

Four people are currently in Manitoba hospitals battling the virus. The Cadham Provincial Laboratory tested over 1,000 people March 31.

Lanette Siragusa, Manitoba chief nursing officer, announced new measures to help protect health care staff while testing for COVID-19. Workers will now be tested and questioned before starting work.

At least three Manitoba health care workers have tested positive for the virus.

“Staff must stay home if they are ill, even if their symptoms are mild,” Siragusa said. 

“We have a duty to protect our patients, our staff and our community, to ensure that we need to take every precaution.”

Earlier in the day, the province announced it would implement new measures to fast-track former registered nurses to help fight the virus.

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