Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson said her government will take "any measure" to keep businesses in Southern Health open as case counts approach levels seen during the second wave, when the region was moved to critical on the pandemic response system.
The newly sworn in premier was asked Tuesday about her plans to bring spread of COVID-19 in the region under control and improve immunization levels, currently at 68.2 per cent in Southern Health.
"We’ll continue to take the advice of the chief provincial public health officer. We want to ensure that we’re listening to Manitobans as well who are negatively impacted as a result of closures and things like that, so we want to make sure that we’re listening to those Manitobans," Stefanson said.
She plans to meet with chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin as soon as possible but said she does not want to implement a lockdown on businesses.
"We’re going to take any measure we can to ensure that we remain open. I want to make sure that those businesses can remain open and running," Stefanson said.
In the past two weeks, the Southern Health region has reported an average of 47 cases per day and currently accounts for half of the COVID-19 patients in intensive care and 28 per cent of the province’s active cases.
Last fall, in the two-week period before Roussin moved Southern Health to critical-red on Nov. 9, 2020, shuttering restaurants, suspending recreation programs and significantly limiting retail, an average of 55 cases were detected per day.
Stefanson said cabinet and caucus members will be involved in discussions on "how we want to see things moving forward."
"I do take this very seriously, but I will seek that advice first before we act," Stefanson said.
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.