May 28, 2020

Winnipeg
11° C, Light rain showers

Full Forecast

Winnipeg Free Press

ABOVE THE FOLD

Help us deliver reliable news during this pandemic.

We are working tirelessly to bring you trusted information about COVID-19. Support our efforts by subscribing today.

No Thanks Subscribe

Already a subscriber?

Roussin 'can't really speak' about COVID-19 fatality's contacts

The province's chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, says the investigation into Manitoba's first fatal coronavirus case -- a woman in her 60s -- "would be completed" by now, but he wouldn't say whether any of her co-workers had become infected.

"If the person was infectious while they (were) at work, then definitely the workplace would have been involved in the investigation," he said Monday. "And any co-workers who had close contact with that individual would have been contacted and advised to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms."

The Free Press has confirmed that Margaret Sader, who worked at Sinclair Dental in Winnipeg, was Manitoba's first COVID-19 fatality. The company supplies dentists with equipment and does equipment repairs.

Roussin said Manitoba would not release personal health information concerning individual cases unless there was a public health reason to do so.

The Free Press has confirmed that Margaret Sader, who worked at Sinclair Dental in Winnipeg, was Manitoba's first COVID-19 fatality. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

The Free Press has confirmed that Margaret Sader, who worked at Sinclair Dental in Winnipeg, was Manitoba's first COVID-19 fatality. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

"I can't really speak to which contacts of which individual have tested positive," he said Monday, "but certainly if that individual was ill while they're at work that investigation would have been done."

One source with knowledge of staffing at Sinclair Dental told the Free Press another of the staff members had tested positive for COVID-19.

Victor Michaud, Sinclair Dental's chief operating officer, referred all Free Press questions on Monday to provincial health authorities.

Several Canadian positive coronavirus tests have been linked to a large dental convention in Vancouver March 5-7 that drew dentists and dental suppliers from across the country, including an untold number from Manitoba.

At his daily briefing on Monday, Roussin said provincial public health officials sent letters to Manitoba attendees at that conference "weeks ago" to advise them of the need to self-isolate. He noted that the incubation period for contracting the disease at the conference had now passed.

On Monday Dr. Brent Roussin said Manitoba would not release personal health information concerning individual cases unless there was a public health reason to do so. (John Woods / The Canadian Press)

On Monday Dr. Brent Roussin said Manitoba would not release personal health information concerning individual cases unless there was a public health reason to do so. (John Woods / The Canadian Press)

"I don't have in front of me" the number of Manitoba cases that may have been linked to the conference, Roussin said. "Our efforts haven't really been focussed on disclosing that publicly."

He said he's satisfied that dental association communications and media reports about the conference precluded the need for a separate public alert from his office.

"I think the messaging was very broad... and I think it did reach everyone that was affected," he said.

On Monday, Manitoba announced its first COVID-19 case in the Northern Health Region, which covers a vast area that includes Flin Flon, The Pas, Thompson, Lac Brochet and Tadoule Lake

Roussin would not identify the affected community, saying there was no public need to do so.

One source with knowledge of staffing at Sinclair Dental told the Free Press another of the staff members had tested positive for COVID-19. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

One source with knowledge of staffing at Sinclair Dental told the Free Press another of the staff members had tested positive for COVID-19. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

"It does not help the public to know the specific locations of these cases because we are asking everyone to stay home (and) practise social distancing at all times," he said at one point.

If someone with a positive test had been in close contact with a number of people that couldn't readily be identified, public health officials would not hesitate to announce that publicly, Roussin said.

"If there was a reason to announce where a specific case was and the location, public health definitely would do so," he said.

-- with files from Maggie Macintosh

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

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.

The Free Press would like to thank our readers for their patience while comments were not available on our site. We're continuing to work with our commenting software provider on issues with the platform. In the meantime, if you're not able to see comments after logging in to our site, please try refreshing the page.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.