February 21, 2020

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Winnipeg Free Press

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Manitoba health providers get coronavirus alert

The province is asking health-care providers to be on the lookout for people who have travelled recently to the Chinese city of Wuhan and are now suffering from fever and acute respiratory illness.

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For more information on coronavirus, visit Infection Prevention and Control Canada

For up-to-date travel advice and advisories, visit the government of Canada travel website.

The notice was issued Jan. 17, in light of the new coronavirus, first identified in the 11-million resident metropolis in Hubei province. On that same day, Manitoba required suspected and confirmed cases of the virus be reported to the chief provincial public health officer.

"The World Health Organization, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living are actively monitoring the situation," the provincial Health Department said in a statement Wednesday.

The Wuhan Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market, where a number of people related to the market fell ill with a virus, sits closed in Wuhan, China. (Dake Kang / The Associated Press)</p>

The Wuhan Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market, where a number of people related to the market fell ill with a virus, sits closed in Wuhan, China. (Dake Kang / The Associated Press)

"While the risk to Manitobans is low, provincial public health officials are asking health-care providers in Manitoba to be aware of people with a relevant travel history and symptoms that could be related to the novel coronavirus," the department said.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Chinese authorities plan to close off Wuhan, cancelling planes and trains leaving the city beginning Thursday, and suspending buses, subways and ferries within it. The measure could thwart the travel plans of millions of Chinese citizens celebrating the Lunar New Year holiday.

Health providers in Manitoba are asked to watch for people with fever and acute respiratory illness, with or without pneumonia, who travelled to Wuhan within 14 days of the onset of symptoms — or have had close contact with an ill person associated with the outbreak in Wuhan.

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that have a halo, or crown-like (corona) appearance when viewed under an electron microscope. (Dr. Fred Murphy / Centers for Disease Control)

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that have a halo, or crown-like (corona) appearance when viewed under an electron microscope. (Dr. Fred Murphy / Centers for Disease Control)

"If concerns are raised, health providers will ensure that a patient is not in close contact with other patients, and will connect with infectious disease experts and public health to consult on next steps," the provincial statement said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Tuesday the first case of the novel coronavirus in the United States. The Washington state patient had recently returned from Wuhan.

No confirmed cases had yet been identified in Canada.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature Reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Read full biography

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