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Two new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba; 300 cases in province since March
WINNIPEG -- The total number of COVID-19 cases in Manitoba since March hit 300 on Friday, as health officials announced two new cases.
During the COVID-19 news conference, Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, said one of the new cases is a truck driver that travelled outside the province. The other new case is a close household contact.
"We know that these two cases are linked directly or indirectly to travel outside the province," Roussin said.
While he did not have a total number of cases among truck drivers in the province, Roussin said of the four most recent cases of the virus in Winnipeg, three are truck drivers.
In early June, the province announced truck drivers who are asymptomatic can be tested voluntarily due to their frequent out-of-province travel.
Terry Shaw, the executive director of the Manitoba Trucking Association (MTA), said the number of cases among truck drivers is not something to be concerned about in terms of averages.
"Truck drivers work on the front lines as essential service workers, as do all essential service workers," Shaw said. "There is some elevated risk, but those in the trucking industry – and quite frankly all Manitobans, in general, have responded well to our public health protocols and I think our numbers in Manitoba show that."
Shaw said the numbers show that the approach to COVID-19 pandemic is working.
"Three truck drivers out of 300 cases is about one per cent which is, quite frankly, is a bit lower than the average number of truck drivers in the population," said Terry Shaw, the executive director the Manitoba Trucking Association.
Shaw said the MTA developed some 'going-home' guidelines for truck driver's returning from out-of-province trips. Under federal measures, truck drivers are not required to self-isolate after travelling.
Shaw said based on the current numbers of COVID-19 among truck drivers in Manitoba, he said those guidelines are working. He said the MTA worked with the province to allow asymptomatic truck drivers in the province to be voluntarily tested for the virus.
"It's just another tool in the toolbox for our essential service workers – those now being truck drivers," he said.
Roussin said they have not seen any trend in terms of COVID-19 cases among truck drivers.
"We know that travel outside of Manitoba, especially into the U.S., carries with it increased risk," he said, adding the trucking industry is necessary in Manitoba.
Roussin said Manitoba truckers are doing everything correctly, by watching closely for symptoms and getting tested as soon as any symptoms develop.
Roussin said Manitoba's number of cases remain favourable as the province continues with the second phase of reopening.
He said there are currently nine active cases of the virus, and 284 people have recovered. There are currently no people hospitalized due to the virus.
The number of COVID-19 related deaths in Manitoba remains at seven.
On Thursday, 671 lab tests were performed, bringing the total number of tests performed in the province since early February to 47,372.
Lanette Siragusa, the chief nursing officer for Shared Health, said the province's hotel isolation program has accepted one person into the program within the past week. She said currently 13 people are isolating at the hotel. Since its launch, 31 people have been accepted into the program.
The province's isolation shelter for those experiencing homelessness has had 117 people accepted into the program since it launched on April 10. Siragusa said 10 people have been accepted into the program in the past week, and seven people are currently isolating at the shelter.
The province also announced that, due to low patient volume, certain community testing sites will be closed on Sundays. These include the sites in Brandon, Portage la Prairie, Steinbach and Winkler, as well as the Thunderbird House in Winnipeg.