September 28, 2020

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Top doc satisfied with handling of fatal COVID-19 case

The province's chief public health officer says he's satisfied with the investigation into Manitoba's latest COVID-19 fatality, even though the man died several days before it was discovered that he was infected with the coronavirus.

"Contacts were investigated and notified," Dr. Brent Roussin said Thursday. "If the individual was in a place where we couldn't identify all of the (contacts), we would make an announcement on that."

In its COVID-19 bulletin on Tuesday, the province announced that a man in his 70s from the Southern Health region had become the eighth Manitoban to die of the virus.

Officials said the man died on July 22, but he was only listed this week as a new COVID-19 case. Officials also said that the man had not been hospitalized with the coronavirus.

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, refuses to add details about the latest COVID-19 death in Manitoba: a man in his 70s. (Mikaela Mackenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, refuses to add details about the latest COVID-19 death in Manitoba: a man in his 70s. (Mikaela Mackenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

Roussin provided few additional details about the case at the media briefing, citing privacy concerns. He would not say whether a COVID-19 test was conducted on the man after he died.

"Public health received the positive lab result on the 26th of July and so we then announced it on the (28th) after an investigation," he said. "That’s all the details that we will be releasing."

Officials haven’t disclosed whether the man had underlying health issues before contracting COVID. That has been the case in most of the province’s recorded deaths, the first of which was announced March 27.

On Thursday, Roussin announced two new cases of the virus — two men in their 30s from the Prairie Mountain Health region — bringing the total number since the virus arrived in Manitoba to 409.

The current five-day test positivity rate is 0.40 per cent. A total of 1,179 laboratory tests were completed Wednesday.

The number of Manitobans in hospital with COVID remained at six, with four people in intensive care. There are 76 active cases, 75 more than reported on July 13.

With the continued high number of Manitobans getting tested for the virus, Roussin urged employers not to mandate the testing of asymptomatic employees.

"Testing of asymptomatic individuals is not that useful, so it puts an extra strain on our system to mandate that," he said.

"If the individual was in a place where we couldn't identify all of the (contacts), we would make an announcement on that." ‐ Dr. Brent Roussin

Roussin noted that some Manitobans are becoming impatient with the wait time for test results.

"We are hearing that people are frustrated with the testing and the result wait times," he said.

Roussin emphasized that positive test results are "identified quite early" and are reported to individuals.

The Cadham Provincial Lab is still completing tests on samples within 24 to 48 hours of receiving them, he said. However, there can be delays in transporting samples and entering results into the system, he said, and officials are trying to rectify the problem.

The transportation of samples could be an issue now because the virus is predominately spreading outside Winnipeg.

Of the 74 active coronavirus cases announced on Wednesday, only 12 were in Winnipeg. Thirty-seven were in the Interlake-Eastern health authority, 13 were in Prairie Mountain Health and 12 were in Southern Health.

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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