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Manitoba's COVID-19 count grows to 72 cases

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Manitoba chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin speaks during a provincial COVID-19 update at the Manitoba legislature in Winnipeg earlier this week. (Winnipeg Free Press files)

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Manitoba chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin speaks during a provincial COVID-19 update at the Manitoba legislature in Winnipeg earlier this week. (Winnipeg Free Press files)

Manitoba reported eight more cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, raising the total to 72, as the chief public health officer said most Manitobans are doing their part to reduce transmission of the virus.

"The majority of Manitobans are taking this seriously," Dr. Brent Roussin said.

"We are not helpless. Now is the time for action."

He reiterated that people can drastically reduce transmission by staying at home.

"We are not helpless. Now is the time for action."

The province is "strengthening our messaging" about the need to practise social distancing ahead of stricter measures that will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday, he said.

Public gatherings will be limited to 10 people, while retail stores and public transit must ensure there is space of one to two metres between people. 

The 10-person limit applies to places of worship and gatherings such as weddings and funerals. It does not apply to health-care facilities or social service providers, such as child-care centres and homeless shelters. These changes, along with Manitobans’ adherence to physical distancing, can help contain COVID-19, Roussin stressed.

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba's chief public health officer. John Woods / The Canadian Press files

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba's chief public health officer. John Woods / The Canadian Press files

Roussin repeated Sunday that information would not be released about the only Manitoban to have died from the virus. The Winnipeg woman, who was in her 60s, died last week. Roussin wouldn't reveal how she may have contracted the virus.

"We're not going to discuss specifics," he said.

On Sunday, two people remained in hospital, with one of them in the intensive care unit. All other people who have contracted the virus are self-isolating in their homes, he said.

Public health investigations are underway to determine additional details and to confirm the possible exposure of these cases. Case data, including possible events and locations where people may have come into contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, will be updated at www.manitoba.ca/covid19 when available, the province said.

Two people are listed as having recovered from the virus. Roussin said more effort will be made in the coming days to report the number of people listed as recovered.

As of Friday, 7,147 tests had been completed at the Cadham lab.

Lanette Siragusa, spokeswoman for Shared Health, said officials are looking for sites that could be turned into pop-up health centres in the event hospitals are overwhelmed with patients. She said more information would be released at a later date.

Shoppers at the Walmart on McPhillips Street line up outside the store on Sunday, to keep the number of shoppers inside at a level in which people can keep their distance from one another. John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

Shoppers at the Walmart on McPhillips Street line up outside the store on Sunday, to keep the number of shoppers inside at a level in which people can keep their distance from one another. John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

On Monday, a community testing site will open in Pine Falls at Powerview School. It will operate from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday.

There are 15 community testing sites in Manitoba, including six drive-thru locations, with plans to open in more communities in the next week. The public is reminded that a referral to these sites is needed and they are not walk-in clinics. Information is available here.

Any person concerned about their exposure to or risk of having COVID-19 should call Health Links at 204-788-8200 or toll-free at 1-888-315-9257 to be screened to see if a test is required.

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History

Updated on Sunday, March 29, 2020 at 12:33 PM CDT: adds details

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