April 10, 2020

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Manitoba puts 'contingencies in place' for any suspected coronavirus case

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, holds a conference call regarding the coronavirus Thursday.</p>

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, holds a conference call regarding the coronavirus Thursday.

Manitoba's chief provincial public health officer says he's confident the province is prepared to deal with any suspected cases of the new coronavirus.

Dr. Brent Roussin told a news briefing Thursday the health threat to Manitobans remains low.

A provincewide preparedness plan is in place, he said, and health providers have been asked to keep an eye out for patients suffering from fever and acute respiratory illness who have travelled to Wuhan, China, within the past two weeks.

"We are prepared for a suspected case and have contingencies in place to deal with it," he said.

Should a suspected case be identified, the patient would be placed in a separate room and those caring for him or her would don eye shields and masks.

There are protocols for identifying anyone who has come in close contact with any patient suspected of being infected by the virus.

"The big goal is to reduce and eliminate any secondary spread of this virus, should a case be detected," Roussin said.

The National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg would confirm whether someone tested here for the virus was indeed infected.

Roussin said he is in "at least daily contact" with public health officials in Ottawa about the coronavirus, and regularly discusses preparation plans with counterparts in other provinces.

The province also monitors information coming from the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Roussin said not a lot is yet known about how deadly the new virus is and how quickly it may spread.

"We know that there's been evidence of person-to-person transmission. We're not sure on how efficient that is right now," he said.

He said officials are not seeing an "efficient person-to-person transmission" of the virus so far, which is why the health risk here is still considered to be fairly low.

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.

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