Manitoba’s top doctor says more restrictions are likely, a targeted lockdown is on the table
Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba chief public health officer, listen to a media question during the province's latest COVID-19 update at the Manitoba legislature in Winnipeg Friday, October 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
WINNIPEG -- Despite restrictions imposed across the province – COVID-19 cases are rising. Now Manitoba’s top doctor says more restrictions are likely and said a targeted lockdown is being considered.
Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, said in one week the province has had more than 2,000 cases of COVID-19.
In light of the spiking cases, Roussin said he met with Premier Brian Pallister on Monday morning to talk about the need for increased COVID-19 measures. He said more restrictions are likely in order.
“My advice was sought this morning on what further restrictions should be in place and we are in the process of deliberating,” Roussin told reporters on Monday.
“Nothing has been off the table and we will continue to review those options as we look at these numbers.”
He said several non-essential businesses have been allowed to operate under code red – albeit under heavy restrictions. He said this is one area public health is looking at in terms of further restrictions, though no decision has been made yet.
Roussin said a targeted lockdown, referred to as a ‘circuit breaker,’ is also on the table.
“We see these numbers going in the wrong direction; we see increased demand on our health care system. We are at a critical point where we need to change these dynamics.”
Roussin said the public health has previously taken a targeted approached to impose restrictions, but the province does not have that opportunity now because there is widespread community-based transmission seen across Manitoba sectors.
He said there are already ‘significant’ restrictions in place across the province.
The Southern Health region was moved to the critical or red level of the province’s pandemic response system Monday morning, joining the Winnipeg Metro Region which has been under code red since Nov. 2.
All other regions in the province have been moved to the restricted or orange level.
Roussin said public health is waiting to see the results of these measures. He said the province should start to see the effect of restrictions after two incubation periods of the virus, which is about four weeks.
“At the same time we are looking at whether more restrictions are going to be required,” he said, adding more information will be coming in the near future.