First presumptive case of COVID-19 confirmed in Manitoba
WINNIPEG -- The province has confirmed the first presumptive case of COVID-19 in Manitoba.
The case was confirmed at a news conference in Winnipeg Thursday morning with Health Minister Cameron Friesen and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin.
Friesen said the patient is a woman in her 40s from the Winnipeg region who recently travelled to the Philippines. She is recovering at home and is in stable condition. She had been back in Canada for a few days before the positive test and arrived at the hospital with a face mask.
The health minister added that two community screening centres will open in Winnipeg on Thursday to screen people for COVID-19. They will be open at Access Winnipeg West located on Booth Drive and Access Fort Garry located on Plaza Drive.
Roussin recommended that Manitobans practice social distancing, avoid large crowds, minimize contact while in public and disinfect all surfaces. People are urged to consider avoiding travel, crowded places and events.
"Fear and panic is not going to help us," he said.
Roussin also recommended that businesses cancel all non-essential travel outside of Manitoba and that schools increase desk space between students.
Public health officials are advising schools that: students and staff should stay home if they are sick, they should reduce large-group activities, and consider implementing virtual or online classrooms.
Employers are advised to review business continuity plans to make sure workers can stay home if they are sick or work from home.
Shared Health said COVID-19 testing is for symptomatic people only. Patients are encouraged to contact Health Link before going to any facility, and self-isolate while waiting for results. People without symptoms should not go to health centres and unless absolutely necessary.
The province was told about the presumptive case Thursday morning. It is tracing who the patient has been in contact with.
Friesen said the province has observed other jurisdictions’ experiences with COVID-19 and plans to acquire more ventilators.
Roussin said discussions are underway to review policies and procedures for long-term care facilities. Measures to protect Manitobans are already in place.
The province said those at greatest risk for severe outcomes of COVID-19 are those over 65, those with underlying medical conditions, and those with compromised immune systems. Manitobans are reminded to wash their hands frequently, cough and sneeze into their sleeves and stay home if they are sick.
- With files from CTV’s Jon Hendricks and Rahim Ladhani