OHS Canada Magazine

‘Have to get things under control’: Manitoba brings back tougher COVID restrictions

Province reported 480 new infections on Friday


By Steve Lambert

WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is ordering many businesses to close, limiting hospital visits, and capping attendance at religious services after a record daily increase in COVID-19 cases.

The province reported 480 new infections Friday. It’s more than double the previous daily record, although health officials said many of the cases were delayed data collection from earlier in the week.

Also of concern were intensive care units running at or near capacity and a rising percentage of people testing positive — more than eight per cent in recent days, almost quadruple the national average.

“We have to get things back under control here,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, chief public health officer.

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“And we’ll see that once we get the amount of interactions, the amount of gatherings, down, we’re going to start seeing those (case) numbers come down again.”

Restrictions begin Monday

Starting Monday, bars and restaurants in the Winnipeg region will only be allowed to offer takeout and delivery. Most retail stores will be limited to 25 per cent capacity. Movie theatres will have to close and sports and recreation programming will be suspended.

In the rest of the province, restaurants, bars and stores will be limited to half capacity.

Non-urgent and elective surgeries are being cancelled in the Winnipeg region. Hospital visits across Manitoba are also off except for people visiting patients receiving end-of-life care.

Religious services will also be capped at 15 per cent in the Winnipeg region and 20 per cent elsewhere.

The province is looking to add beds and may shift patients to facilities other than hospitals.

“Plans are in place to create new beds for our least-sick non-COVID patients outside of the hospital, should we need more hospital space,” said Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer with Manitoba Shared Health.

Two-week period

The restrictions are to be in place for at least two weeks and will be reassessed at that time, Roussin said.

At one point in the summer, Manitoba had only one active COVID-19 case. Numbers started spiking in late summer.

Growing numbers in western Manitoba were reversed with restrictions on businesses and limits on public gatherings. A later spike in Winnipeg has not been dampened with some restrictions that were imposed a month ago.