WINNIPEG -- While Manitoba continues to have hundreds of new COVID-19 cases each day, not everyone is finding out with a COVID test.

Tuesday, the province said nearly half of those currently is hospital with COVID-19 didn’t get tested prior to arriving.

Doug Langrell knows firsthand how important testing for COVID is.

Doug lost his brother Dennis Langrell to COVID-19 last month, his brother died alone in his apartment at the age of 66.

“He was badly congested, he had a bad cold so I said please go get yourself tested,” said Doug.

He said his brother already had his first vaccination appointment, and decided not to get the COVID-19 test.

Dennis had some underlying health conditions, but the medical examiner told Doug that COVID-19 was the cause of death.

“It was COVID that killed him. If it wasn’t for COVID he’d be here with us today, he’d still have diabetes but he’d be here.”

Tuesday Premier Brian Pallister said Manitobans need to make testing a priority when they have COVID like symptoms.

He said last Friday 43 per cent of COVID hospital patients in the province had not been tested.

“Of the 296 COVID patients in the hospital, 129 only tested positive for the virus after presenting to the hospital. This includes 21 people in ICU,” the premier said on Tuesday.

Public Health Lead for the First Nations Pandemic Response Coordination Team, Dr. Marcia Anderson said there’s a stigma that goes with testing positive for COVID-19.

“When people are afraid that they might suffer greater stigma or enforcement, or fear of criminal approach, then they just will not get tested and that actually leads to more spread,” said Anderson.

Anderson said Manitoba needs to consider what type of messaging encourages and supports testing, and look at where messaging can be revised.

Doug believes a COVID test would have saved his brother’s life.

“If only I’d managed to get him into the car that night and take him to Seven Oaks Hospital right next door, I’m sure they would have put him into ICU right away. But we’ll have to live with that,” said Doug.

If you have COVID like symptoms and want to determine if you need a test, you can go to Shared Health’s COVID-19 screening tool by clicking here.