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Manitoba COVID-19 cases surpass 200, but Gimli care home cleared

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The Betel Home long-term care facility in Gimli has been cleared of COVID-19 as of Sunday. It was concluded that a worker who had tested positive initially, had a false positive.

The Betel Home long-term care facility in Gimli has been cleared of COVID-19 as of Sunday. It was concluded that a worker who had tested positive initially, had a false positive.

While reporting on Sunday that Manitoba has surpassed the 200 mark in terms of positive and probable cases of COVID-19, the chief provincial public health officer also released some positive news.

Dr. Brent Roussin said the health care worker at Betel Home in Gimli who had tested positive for the virus on Wednesday, is in fact, negative. He said it has been concluded the worker had a false positive test initially.

The province had said on Saturday that all nine residents of the long-term care home who had been tested for the virus, had negative results.

On Sunday, the province reported a total of 203 cases of the virus had been identified in Manitoba. Eleven people were in hospital, with seven of them receiving treatment in intensive care.

Roussin was asked if he could shed light on whether Manitoba is "flattening the curve" of the virus, as has been reported by other provinces such as B.C. and Ontario.

"Isolation centres are for those who may require some additional support"

He said it’s too early to tell because Manitoba’s first case was reported on March 12, while B.C. and Ontario first reported cases in late January.

He repeated the message that people must stay inside and only venture out when necessary, such as getting groceries or medication: "Stay home when you can. Only go out for essentials… If you have to go out, practise social distancing," he said.

Dr. Brent Roussin emphasized that Manitobans should stay home as much as possible — even if it comes at the cost of seeing family for Easter dinner. (Daniel Crump / Winnipeg Free Press files)</p></p>

Dr. Brent Roussin emphasized that Manitobans should stay home as much as possible — even if it comes at the cost of seeing family for Easter dinner. (Daniel Crump / Winnipeg Free Press files)

The advice applies to every community in the province, he said.

He called on families to cancel get-togethers at Easter, which is next weekend.

Province opens first isolation centre

Meantime, the province is opening its first isolation centre for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 or been exposed and can’t isolate at home because of a vulnerable family member.

Lanette Siragusa, Shared Health’s chief nursing officer, said Manitoba is opening its first isolation centre this weekend.

"Isolation centres are for those who may require some additional support as they self isolate," Siragusa said during the province’s daily news conference on Saturday.

"It will include health care workers and other Manitobans who have COVID-19, who may have been exposed, or they need a dedicated required space to isolate them from their families, loved ones or their roommates."

Siragusa said once a person has been taken into the isolation centre they will have to actually isolate.

“The isolation centres are for those who may require some additional support as they self isolate,” Chief Nursing Officer Lanette Siragusa said during the province’s daily news conference on Saturday. (Daniel Crump / Winnipeg Free Press files)</p></p>

“The isolation centres are for those who may require some additional support as they self isolate,” Chief Nursing Officer Lanette Siragusa said during the province’s daily news conference on Saturday. (Daniel Crump / Winnipeg Free Press files)

"Guests will be required to self isolate in their rooms at all times," she said. "There will be zero contact whenever possible."

Siragusa said the first people accepted will not be people who don’t want to be there.

"If there are people who have different social needs, and they are not complying with the public health orders, that would be a different route and it would be a strategy we would have in place to manage," she said.

"The first one is for people who are compliant and could self isolate at home but, for whatever reason, someone in their home, a little person or a chronically ill person makes it a higher risk situation."

Siragusa said the centres will have enhanced cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing. They will have a separate area for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and another for people who have to isolate because they have been exposed to someone.

She said the Winnipeg one is the first, but the province does have plans to open others, including in Brandon.

"We’re starting off slow this weekend," Siragusa said.

"We want people to arrive, be safe, have a clear pathway to their rooms and make sure they have everything they need in terms of food and how they can call for help.

"We will continue to refine it and grow it as the need demands."

Siragusa said Saturday that of those who had tested positive for the virus, 14 are health care workers, with 12 working in Winnipeg and two others from the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority.

Two people have died of the virus.

Meanwhile, while a custodian at Windsor Park Collegiate has become the second death related to COVID-19 in the province, the superintendent of the Louis Riel School Division said in an email sent out to parents and guardians of students on Saturday that public health officials have not confirmed to the division how the man died.

The email, from superintendent Christian Michalik, said "we do not have confirmed details from Manitoba Public Health authorities on the cause of this employee’s passing.

"If there were any additional steps or recommendations to ensure the continued safety of our staff, students and parents/guardians, Manitoba Public Health would provide us with those processes. I can assure you, they have not been in touch with us regarding any additional steps."

The 55-year-old custodian told the school’s principal on March 18, before the province ordered schools to close classes on March 23, that he was feeling sick. He was told go to home and contact Manitoba Health Links.

The man was diagnosed with pneumonia on March 23, by the 27th he was in intensive care, on April 2, he died.

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason
Reporter

Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.

Read full biography

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Chart showing daily cumulative counts of positive COVID-19 cases

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History

Updated on Sunday, April 5, 2020 at 10:43 AM CDT: sidebar added

1:43 PM: Adds info. from Sunday's news conference

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