Manitoba goes 13 straight days without a new COVID-19 case, but caution still urged
WINNIPEG -- Public health officials announced that for a 13th consecutive day Manitoba has no new cases of COVID-19.
Dr. Brent Roussin, the province's chief public health officer, made the announcement Monday afternoon.
Manitoba has had 325 cases since early March. There is currently one active case in Manitoba, and 317 people have recovered from the virus.
The death toll remains at seven.
On Friday, 798 tests were performed. An additional 1,149 tests were completed on Saturday, followed by another 573 on Sunday. The province's total number of tests is now at 71,559 since early February.
As the province continues to see favourable numbers, Roussin said Manitobans can't let their guards down, and now is not the time to relax on health guidelines, such as physical distancing and consistent hand washing.
"This virus is not done with us and if we don't remain vigilant, we'll be seeing increasing cases. So we need to adhere to the principles that got us here," said Roussin.
“Manitoban’s, we’ve been through a challenging time and as we loosen things up, (there’s) a tendency to try to revert back to normal. But we are certainly not back to normal at this point,” said Roussin.
"If we want to keep our success going forward, if we want to keep reopening our economy, we need to start getting back to the basics that got us here."
Roussin added Manitoba can't loosen restrictions too quickly and people should look at other jurisdictions when restrictions were lifted too early.
"The last thing we want to do is go backwards, we move so quick, and we end up having to put restrictions on again," he said.
RESPIRATORY VIRUS STEERING COMMITTEE
Lanette Siragusa, the chief nursing officer with Shared Health, said health officials are preparing for the upcoming influenza season, even as they continue to deal with COVID-19.
A respiratory virus steering committee has been created, which will help officials prepare for COVID-19 and influenza coming together.
"One of the priorities that we are considering is the vaccine strategy that we will be initiating," said Siragusa. "We are looking to increase the uptake of vaccines this year."
The committee is also looking at how to shift resources in the province.
The committee is being co-chaired by both Siragusa and Roussin.
PLANNING TO LOOSEN MORE RESTRICTIONS
Roussin said with the case count in the province continuing to be low, health officials are looking at loosening more restrictions in the coming days and weeks.
"We're right now having plans to add to the loosening of restrictions. So I don't I think we are going frame any further ones as a phase necessarily, but there's a few things that are still required to be closed due to the orders and we're looking at how we can open those up and some other loosening restrictions such as outdoor group sizes," said Roussin.
"We don't have a specific date, but that is something we are currently working on."