Pallister hints 'high-level' restrictions may continue into winter months
Premier Brian Pallister.
WINNIPEG -- After nearly three weeks of widespread restrictions across Manitoba, the province's premier said he feels it is 'critical' high-level restrictions continue into the winter months.
Manitoba has been under code red restrictions since Nov. 12. These current health orders are set to expire on Dec. 11, but Pallister hinted at the possibility Manitoba may stay under code red for a while yet.
"My gut feeling is that as we get into winter it is going to be critical that we continue with a high-level of restrictions for some time," he said.
"It's really important that we understand that this is not going to be a short-term deal – I think that if we get into that frame of mind, take this seriously as much as its hard on all of us, we'll have the chance to turn it around and then spring into a positive situation come early next year."
Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, said when the orders and restrictions were implemented in Manitoba, Public Health was expecting to see the number of COVID-19 cases 'dramatically improve' by Dec. 11.
While there has been some improvement – Roussin said the number of contacts per case is dropping – the daily case numbers are still in the triple-digits.
On Tuesday, the province recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic yet, with 16 more people dying due to COVID-19. Along with the deaths, the province reported 283 new cases of COVID-19.
While Roussin would not say if the province is planning to extend the restrictions, he did say the prospect of Christmas gatherings is concerning.
"We know that the holiday season is quite meaningful to probably most Manitobans and it's going to be a real challenge," Roussin said, once again urging Manitobans not to gather with people outside their households.
"Those gatherings, no matter how much you want them, no matter how important they are, make no mistake – they will put you and others at that gathering at risk."
He said once a decision has been made about the orders, public health will let Manitobans know.