Manitoba health minister hints tighter COVID rules may be coming tomorrow
WINNIPEG -- The Manitoba government is expected to tighten restrictions in the Winnipeg region after a record number of new COVID-19 cases.
Health Minister Cameron Friesen says the government has been analyzing its next steps and the chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, will have something to say Friday.
The province is reporting 193 new COVID-19 cases -- the highest single day jump since the pandemic began.
Hospital resources are being tested with intensive care beds at more than 90 per cent capacity.
The greater Winnipeg region is already under stricter rules than other areas, with lower public gathering limits and capacity caps at restaurants and lounges.
Friesen says those measures have not stopped case numbers from rising and more action is needed.
"That discussion of what to do next is underway right now," Friesen said Thursday.
"I'm sure that the discussion about what is open and what might be curtailed or adjusted will all be on the menu for Dr. Roussin as he updates Manitobans tomorrow."
The province adopted a colour-coded pandemic response system in the summer. The Winnipeg region is already in the orange category, which has forced some bars to close and other licensed establishments to operate at reduced capacity and shut down nightly at 11 p.m.
If the region is downgraded to the red category, the government has a range of options that could include closing non-essential stores, forcing restaurants to provide only takeout and delivery, and requiring schools to stop in-class instruction and move to remote learning.
Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said Thursday he and other politicians have discussed a downgrade to the red category and how it could affect their work.
"A couple of days ago, we were already talking about how we're going to run the legislature if it's under code red."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 29, 2020