Manitoba boosts gathering size limits to 25 people indoors, 50 people outdoors
Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, and Lanette Siragusa, the chief nursing officer for Shared Health, talking about COVID-19.
WINNIPEG -- Manitoba health officials have announced portions of the second phase of the province's reopening plan will begin at the end of this week.
Starting Friday, May 22, the group size limit, that has previously been set to 10 people or less, is being loosened. The limit will be raised to no more than 25 people at indoor locations and up to 50 people at outdoor locations, providing physical distancing measures are in place.
Dr. Brent Roussin, the province's chief provincial public health officer, said the province is still working on other elements of the phase two reopening plan. He said more details will be coming later this week.
"As we transition to larger group sizes, as we transition further along into phase two, it is still a reminder that this is not a return to normal," said Roussin during a news conference on Wednesday.
"We are still dealing with this virus and we are still going to need to deal with this virus for some time so we still need to take those precautions."
Lanette Siragusa, the chief nursing officer for Shared Health, also said health officials are working to allow limited outdoor visitation at personal care homes. She said individual facilities are putting procedures in place and will contact families directly with details, adding facilities are expected to have this in place by Friday, May 29.
"We are very aware that the ability to connect with loved ones is important for the health and well-being of our residents," Siragusa said.
"Our goal has been to find a balance for the longer term, and a balance that will enable visits with loved ones to occur with all the necessary precautions in place."
She said each facility has been given guidelines and has been asked to work with residents and families to identify visitors who are essential to the emotional well-being of the residents.
She said visitors will be limited to a maximum of two people, and indoor visits remain suspended for now except for compassionate reasons and end-of-life cases.
Siragusa said visitors will continue to be screened, and all visits will require strict infection prevention and control measures be followed.
She said if a case of the virus is identified within a personal care home, it will be required to implement its outbreak protocols and visitation may be suspended temporarily.
This news comes as Roussin announced no new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba on Wednesday, leaving the total number of probable and lab-confirmed cases of the virus at 290.
There have been 260 recoveries, and there are currently 23 active cases of the virus.
There is one person in hospital, though no one is in intensive care. The number of people that have died as a result of COVID-19 remains at seven in Manitoba.
On Tuesday 245 lab tests were completed, bringing the total number of tests completed in the province since early February to 35,820.