Not all travellers to Manitoba following self-isolation rules
Published Tuesday, April 13, 2021 5:01PM CST
WINNIPEG -- Manitoba’s public health order states people entering the province must self-isolate for 14 days, but not all travellers are following the rules.
On Monday, Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer, said a traveller who didn’t isolate after returning to Manitoba “implicated” five separate households after testing positive for COVID-19.
“We need you to protect other Manitobans by isolating when you return,” Roussin said during Monday’s press conference. “And if we don’t have that buy-in, then this is what we see.”
But at least one Manitoban returning to the province said they’re surprised the responsibility is on them to learn about and follow the requirements.
“There was no indication that I needed to self-isolate or quarantine in returning to Manitoba,” said Susan Johnson, who recently travelled to Vancouver after a death in her family.
Johnson said there was no information at the airport or announcements on the airplane regarding self-isolation guidelines.
“If there are going to be rules, there should be some mechanism for letting people know what the rules are,” Johnson said. “But then also following up — where’s the accountability?”
Manitoba’s travel-related guidelines are readily available online but there has been some mixed messaging.
The province reports any flights with possible exposure to COVID-19 cases on its website. As recently as Tuesday, the website stated only those sitting in “affected seats” — people considered close contacts based on their proximity to the positive case — must self-isolate for 14 days. Those seated elsewhere on the plane were instructed to just monitor for symptoms.
The province has since updated the page to reflect the public health order that states all travellers must self-isolate for 14 days.
Cynthia Carr, an epidemiologist with EPI Research, said the mixed messaging probably didn’t have a large impact on travellers, especially those who are already following the rules and restrictions in place.
“They probably wouldn’t have changed their mind, even if they looked at a possible [exposure] list and noticed that slight change in monitoring versus self-isolating,” Carr said.
While it doesn’t seem the province is monitoring whether travellers are self-isolating or not, a Manitoba man returning from abroad said the federal government is.
Bob McCulloch is currently isolating after driving across the border from the United States and said he has had multiple check-ins from federal officials. He said he was disappointed to hear some people aren’t following the rules.
“Everybody has to make their own choice, but I just think that’s a total lack of respect for the rest of Manitoba and our health situation that we’re in right now,” McCulloch said.
CTV News reached out to the province today to ask if the traveller who didn’t self-isolate was fined. The fines listed on today’s COVID-19 enforcement update, however, didn’t include the travel-related case.