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A personal care home worker in Brandon has tested positive for COVID-19 despite wearing protective equipment, Manitoba public health officials revealed Saturday, as 55 new cases of the virus were reported in the province.

Saturday’s case count was the second-highest daily total since the virus was first identified in Manitoba.

The province confirmed in a press release Saturday that one of the previously announced positive cases of the virus is that of a health-care worker at the Hillcrest Place care home in Brandon. The worker is now self-isolating and more restrictions have been implemented at the care home, which is now considered in the red (critical) zone of Manitoba’s colour-coded pandemic response system. The province said risk to others in the care home was assessed as being low.

Of the 55 cases reported Saturday, 31 are in the Prairie Mountain health region, 19 in Winnipeg and five in the Southern health region. There are now 1,151 positive cases in Manitoba.

Unusually high case numbers relative to earlier in the summer is slowly becoming a new normal in Manitoba, with the highest single-day total of 72 new cases having been announced Aug. 23.

With double-digit daily case counts becoming more constant comes new regulations from the city. A new public health order allowing the province to fine people infected with COVID-19 $486 per day if they break the two weeks of self-isolation required came into effect Friday, and non-medical masks have now become mandated on public transit and city facilities.

Chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said while there was already a process in place to discipline people breaking self-isolation rules, the new order allows health officials to more quickly enforce a daily fine. The decision to make the change came after reports that people in Brandon who had tested positive for COVID-19 had been attending large gatherings.

Messaging surrounding the use of masks has been muddled — the Free Press reported those being tested for COVID-19 in recent weeks were given handouts that said it was "not clear" as to if there was any benefit to wearing masks in community settings—– but southwest Manitoba residents currently must wear face masks in public places.

Meanwhile, the Winnipeg IKEA store is temporarily closed after a worker tested positive for COVID-19, the company announced Saturday.

IKEA Canada said the decision to close the store and complete a thorough deep clean was made out of an abundance of caution and the store will reopen when the sanitization is completed.

—with files from staff

malak.abas@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: malakabas_

Malak Abas

Malak Abas
Reporter

Malak Abas is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.

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