WINNIPEG -- Two people have been tested for possible coronavirus in Manitoba, but the health minister said the results came back negative.

Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen said there are no indications the virus is in Manitoba at this time.

"The risk to Manitobans continues to be low, however we know we must remain vigilant in our preparations," said Friesen.

Friesen said both patients tested had an "uncertain travel history," but it wasn't concerning to health officials.

If a possible breakout does occur, Friesen asserted that the system is ready.

"We are confident that our efforts will be sufficient and the spread of the virus will not extend to our province, but we are prepared if such an outbreak does occur,” he said.

According to the minister, triage nurses have been specially trained on how to admit patients with possible symptoms.

Operators at 911 have also been told to ask about travel history when they receive calls about flu-like symptoms.

Friesen said all patients with fever or respiratory symptoms who have travelled to the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak first occurred, in the last two weeks or have been in close contact with someone who has, will be tested for coronavirus.

All suspected and confirmed cases of the virus will be reported to Manitoba's chief provincial public health officer.


The province is trying to curb the spread of misinformation around the virus, after stressing the risk of infection for Manitobans is low.

On Friday, the province launched a coronavirus website which contains the information on confirmed cases and deaths, as well as the symptoms which include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing.

"We're working with the public, we're making sure that we have posters and information available in all doctors' offices, in public health offices, so that they can see and read so that they know if they've travelled and they're experiencing these symptoms they'll know what to do and what to tell their doctor," said Friesen.

The minister said it is a positive that people are being careful, but some people are being overly cautious.

"Some people are perhaps going a little too far in what they're saying without good factual basis," said Friesen.


Manitoba's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Brent Roussin said people should be taking the same precautions as they would against the common cold:

  • wash your hands frequently
  • use proper coughing protocols (coughing into your elbow)
  • avoid people with respiratory illness 

"There is no reason to limit public gatherings with this right now," Roussin said. "We are asking people to remain vigilant with that travel history. Our healthcare system is remaining vigilant."

The health minister said seasonal influenza is much more of a concern to Manitobans than coronavirus and that everyone should get a flu shot.

There have been three confirmed cases of coronavirus in Canada: a couple in Toronto that recently visited Wuhan and one case in B.C.

-with files from CTV’s Michelle Gerwing and Josh Crabb