Manitoba’s provincial public health officer confirmed Wednesday that six of the seven new cases of COVID-19 in the province are travel-related.
As for the seventh new case the province reported Tuesday evening, Dr. Brent Roussin said the information is still pending. In total there are 15 reported cases of the virus in Manitoba.
Roussin confirmed this information during a news conference on Wednesday.
“If you haven’t changed aspects of your day-to-day life, you’re not thinking about the role you can play to protect yourself, the people around you and our province at large,” he said.
Provincial health officials said more than 2,100 patients have been tested for COVID-19 throughout all testing sites in the province in the last six days.
“Yesterday Cadham Lab ran 544 provincial tests for COVID-19,” Roussin said.
An eighth testing site has opened in Brandon, Man., at the Brandon Reginal Health Centre in the nurses’ residence gym. The location will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
More testing sites are expected to be announced in the coming days.
‘It’s important these tests are reserved for people that need the testing,” Roussin said,
UNIVERSITY STUDENTS PROVIDING SUPPORT
The province also announced on Wednesday that 20 University of Manitoba students are now helping occupational health services, which screens and responds to “inquiries from staff and physicians who have returned from travelling internationally in the last 14 days.”
Roussin reminded anyone working in health care who is returning from international travel that they must self-identify to their organization’s occupational health services.
He said all returning international travellers have to self-isolate for 14 days upon return and monitor their symptoms, noting this includes health-care workers, though there are risk assessments in place for those deemed to be essential.
“You can see that the vast majority of cases in Canada are travel-related and we see rapid developments in other areas of the world, more and more travel restrictions getting put in place all the time. Now is not the time to travel outside of Canada.”
THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL DISTANCING
During Wednesday’s news conference Roussin highlighted the importance of social distancing.
“Our social distancing messaging continues and this is going to be one of our most important strategies to limit the impact of the virus in our communities,” he said, noting this applies to go to crowded bars and restaurants, inviting people into your home, play dates and faith-based gatherings.
Roussin also said that people should not give in to fear.
“Fear is also contagious,” he said, adding there’s no need to stockpile on food or other products.
“Canada has a very strong supply chain that’s not going away. Have provisions for the week or two, but there’s no need to stockpile at this point.”
Roussin said Canadian Blood Services is concerned about a recent spike in cancellations.
“We do know that the need for blood does not go away during a pandemic. Donating blood is safe at this time,” he said.