October 21, 2020

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23 of 29 new COVID-19 cases reported Sunday identified within city

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This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML)

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML)

Cases of the novel coronavirus in Winnipeg continued to rise, Sunday, as 23 of 29 new COVID-19 cases in the province were identified within the city.

The remaining cases were split between the Prairie Mountain Health region with three cases, the Interlake-Eastern health region with two cases, and the Southern Health region with one new case.

The province has described the increase in COVID-19 cases in Winnipeg as "concerning," though the level of alert in the city remains at yellow, or caution.

Jets captain fires back at his Twitter critics

Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler fired a shot at the province’s captain Sunday, urging Premier Brian Pallister to consider a mask mandate on social media.

“Time for universal mask mandate. Why not? Let’s take care of each other,” the hockey star tweeted at the premier.

Jets captain Blake Wheeler fired a shot at the province’s captain Sunday, urging Premier Brian Pallister to consider a mask mandate on social media.

“Time for universal mask mandate. Why not? Let’s take care of each other,” the hockey star tweeted at the premier.

Wheeler’s tweet brought back sharpworded responses on Twitter that included an insult and another telling him to mind his own business and alleging he only lives in Winnipeg during hockey season.

Wheeler defended himself on both counts, making it clear that he lives in Winnipeg more than just hockey season.

“I may be a moron, but I’m still going to wear a mask to make sure I keep people like you safe,” the Jets captain tweeted.

“I live here all the time my friend. Not left or right, not liberal or conservative. I do care about people, especially here in Winnipeg,” Wheeler continued.

In a statement Sunday, a spokesperson for the premier said the province “ will continue to act on the advice Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer.”

“We trust that our public health professionals will continue to make the appropriate recommendations to protect the health and safety of Manitobans,” the statement continued.

The province noted new cases often have many close contacts, causing concern regarding the spread of the virus in the city, and pointed to the “recent success” in the Prairie Mountain Health region — where masks were mandated when cases spiked — as an example for Winnipeggers to follow to reduce COVID spread.

Thus far, masks are mandatory in all City of Winnipeg facilities.

On Saturday the premier announced he and his team are self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms after attending the premier’s meeting in Ottawa and meeting with Quebec Premier François Legault. Legault had met one on one with Conservative leader Erin O’Toole earlier in the week, who later tested positive for the virus.

Health officials reiterated the fundamentals of avoiding COVID-19, including regular hand-washing, staying home when sick, physical distancing, and mask-wearing when physical distancing is not possible.

In the first week of September, Winnipeg averaged 9.4 new cases of the novel coronavirus per day. In the past week, the city averaged 15.3 new cases daily — a 39 per cent increase in daily cases over three weeks.

There are 354 active cases and 1,216 have recovered from the virus. Eleven people are in hospital, including three in intensive care. The number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at 16.

On Sept. 1, the province marked 459 active cases. That figure decreased consistently for two weeks but has been climbing again since Sept. 13.

Health officials also advised on Sunday of a number of possible exposures to COVID-19 in Winnipeg.

A confirmed case of the virus was detected at Garden City Collegiate involving a Grade 11 student, the school said in a release. The student was in school from Monday to Wednesday, and the school has closed all areas the student used until cleaning and disinfecting are complete. A public health inspection deemed the exposure to be low risk, and no close contacts of the student have been identified at the school. Students and staff will continue to attend school in person.

On Sept. 14, a possible exposure occurred at Munroe Early Childhood Education Centre Preschool at 505 Chalmers Ave. in the morning and afternoon. The centre has closed off areas used by the infected person and will not use these areas until after cleaning and disinfecting have occurred. The centre will remain open to all other children and staff, who can continue to attend the centre in person.

A possible exposure was identified at Planet Fitness on Leila Avenue between 3 and 4 p.m. on Sept. 15.

Three possible exposures were also identified at restaurants and lounges.

One case occurred at Café La Scala at 725 Corydon Ave. on Friday, Sept. 11 from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. and Saturday, Sept. 12 from 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. The restaurant remains closed while public health investigation continue.

An investigation continues related to the Local Public Eatery at 274 Garry St., for a possible exposure that occurred between Friday, Sept. 11 and Saturday, Sept. 12. The restaurant has since reopened.

Another warning was issued related to XXI Lounge at 1011 Pembina Hwy. in Winnipeg between Friday, Sept. 11 from 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 12 from 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. and Sunday, Sept. 13 from 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. The lounge has also reopened to the public.

John Pritchard School has been linked to another possible exposure which health officials advised potentially occurred on Sept. 14 and Sept. 15 on Winnipeg Transit's John Pritchard School Route S412 from Headmaster/Mildred to John Pritchard School from approximately 8:15 a.m. to 8:40 a.m. and from John Pritchard School to Headmaster/Mildred from approximately 3 p.m. to 3:25 p.m.

Preliminary laboratory testing numbers totalled 1,216 on Saturday, bringing the total number of lab tests completed since early February to 164,177.

julia-simone.rutgers@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @jsrutgers

Julia-Simone Rutgers

Julia-Simone Rutgers
Reporter

Julia-Simone Rutgers is a general-assignment reporter.

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