WINNIPEG -- Manitoba remains firm in its stance against publicly naming most workplaces dealing with cases of COVID-19.

This is despite workplaces being one of the main sources of possible transmission during the province’s recent two-month lockdown.

On Monday, officials revealed the top potential acquisition sites for COVID-19 during partial lockdown.

“The big places were workplaces that are listed,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer. “And household but that’s mostly because there wasn’t many other places open at the time.”

But Manitobans still can’t easily find out at exactly which workplaces transmission may have occurred. That’s because the province rarely names businesses or workplaces dealing with cases of COVID-19.

NDP health critic Uzoma Asagwara said sharing more information could help Manitobans.

“It is critically important for as much information as possible to be shared with the public,” Asagwara said. “It’s really important for the government to be transparent about what’s going in order to facilitate public buy-in.”

The City of Toronto recently started releasing the location of workplace outbreaks on a weekly basis where there’s sustained transmission, as long as the workplace is large enough that privacy concerns are mitigated.

Alberta also names workplaces, such as office buildings, when there are 10 or more cases.

In non-household settings, Saskatchewan publicly posts outbreak locations on its website when two or more people test positive for COVID-19, including in workplaces. It notes the declaration of a COVID-19 outbreak is used by public health to mobilize and coordinate a response to the infections, it’s not necessarily an indication of risk to the public.

Manitoba public health, meantime, said information about outbreaks is only shared if it assesses a risk to the public due to community transmission. It must also deem sharing that information is necessary to protect the health of others. The province said information about exposures is only posted if the location is publicly accessible and if there’s a risk to the public.

“We’ve always named locations where cases are where we think the public could’ve been exposed, if we can’t effectively contact trace,” Roussin said Friday. “So we’ll continue to do that if there’s a high-risk setting.”

The province also said it’s developing a guidance document for employers that will be provided to help them track cases and contacts in the workplace ahead of more businesses reopening.

Right now sharing information with close contacts in cases involving potential workplace transmission is handled through contact tracing by public health.

Cynthia Carr, a Winnipeg-based epidemiologist and founder of EPI research, supports Manitoba’s strategy of only naming businesses when there’s a risk to the public.

Carr said naming workplaces could cause more harm than good because it may make some people hesitant about coming forward due to the potential impact on the business and fellow employees.

“A person who becomes infected with COVID-19, that might have nothing to do with the workplace,” Carr said. “We can’t equate publication of the name of a business with necessarily protecting employees.”