Changes being made to COVID-19 testing procedures in Manitoba
WINNIPEG -- As the province announced four new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba on Friday, health officials also said there will be changes coming to the questioning process to help with contact tracing of the virus.
"Contact tracing is a significant tool in our fight against COVID-19 as we track and trace potential exposures and ensure that Manitobans who test positive have the support they need to isolate and recover," said Lanette Siragusa, the chief nursing officer for Shared Health.
Siragusa announced that starting on Friday, health care workers who cover COVID-19 positive cases will start asking patients several new questions related to their race, ethnicity and/or Indigenous identity.
"These questions are important to our understanding of the impact of this virus on Manitobans from various backgrounds and will help us identify any disproportionate impact on specific populations or issues with access to services which may exist."
Siragusa added that people don't have to answer the questions if they don't want to, but they are encouraged to answer them as it will help health officials monitor the virus.
ACCESSING TEST RESULTS
Manitobans who have tested negative for COVID-19 will now be able to access those results online starting next week.
Siragusa said the province is starting a secure online portal, and people who have tested positive will be given information to register for the site.
"Users will need a Manitoba Health registration card in order to access their results online and for those that don't have a Manitoba health card or don't have access to the internet, a toll-free number will also be available beginning next week."
INFORMATION FOR INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES
Siragusa said information for and from Indigenous communities has now been put in one easy to find spot online.
"So the site will include mental health and cultural healing resources. Information for patients and providers as well as prevention information such as guidelines about social distancing and hand hygiene and also links to a number of First Nations and Indigenous organizations as well as government departments."
For all the information people can visit Shared Health's website.