Warning issued to young adults in Manitoba as COVID-19 cases climb
WINNIPEG -- As the total number of COVID-19 cases in Manitoba surpassed 1,700 on Thursday, Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, is attributing around 50 per cent of recent cases to bars and restaurants.
"In the Winnipeg region, we are seeing an increase in the number of cases linked to bars, pubs and restaurants," said Roussin at a news conference Thursday.
Roussin noted that out of the surging in the Winnipeg region, most infections are young adults.
"Many cases are young adults in their 20s and have had many exposures at various bars and restaurants throughout the city," he said.
Roussin cited one example where a symptomatic person went to multiple bars in a night and had 36 close contacts.
"These individuals bring it back home perhaps to younger siblings, to older grandparents or older contacts or people who are at higher risk," Roussin said, "In a pandemic when we say 'we are all in this together' there is no way to avoid that."
Roussin said the five-day test positivity rate in Winnipeg is just over three per cent, but that number is not as accurate as the provincial rate, which was 1.8 per cent.
Christopher Graves, the owner of the King's Head Pub, said he's doing everything possible to make his bar safe. He's implemented precautions like checking ids for out of province patrons, physical distancing and increased cleaning.
"We are going above and beyond anything they've told us to do, and I think we are doing a great job considering there is little guidance from the Government of Manitoba," he said.
Some Winnipeggers CTV News spoke with have mixed feelings attending bars with cases in the city rising.
"I feel comfortable going to this bar because I've seen how serious they are taking this," said Jordan Wheeler, who had lunch at the Kings Head Pub. "I see they have charts and tables of when to wipe tables."
"Just because the numbers are going up and I'm from River East where it's highest in the city, I think I should just go to work and come home," said Ashley Thomas, who was taking a break in the Exchange District.
Roussin did not specify when or what restrictions could come into place if case numbers continue to rise in Winnipeg, but did say nothing is off the table.
He advised Winnipeggers to stick to the fundamentals like washing your hands and staying home when you are ill.
Rousssin also asked Manitobans to limit close contacts, including at upcoming Thanksgiving celebrations.