A new case of COVID-19 was identified in Manitoba Monday, putting an end to a six-day stretch that saw no new instances of the virus being recorded in the province.
The latest case brings the total of lab-confirmed positive and probable positive cases in Manitoba to 290, and serves as a reminder that although the provincial government has begun lifting restrictions, the risks of infection have by no means dissipated.
"It is important to note that while some gradual lifting of restrictions has begun, significant work to limit the spread of COVID-19 must continue," a provincial release sent out Monday afternoon read.
As of Monday, the province has 26 active cases of COVID-19, along with 257 individuals who have been recorded as recovered. Seven people have died.
Until last week, appointments at one of the province’s 16 community screening sites required a referral from Health Links or from a family physician: now, Manitobans can self-refer themselves. "Now it’s just at the point where if you’re sick, you go," Shared Health’s chief nursing officer Lanette Siragusa said.
That change was the result of what Siragusa said was a broadened testing capacity; anyone with a fever, cough, sore throat, headaches, shortness of breath, runny nose, nausea, fatigue or rashes are advised to use the province’s online screening tool before going directly to a testing site in their neighbourhood.
Monday’s new confirmed case came after 487 laboratory tests were performed Sunday, bringing the total province-wide to 35,200 since February. The province didn’t say how many of the most recent tests came via self-referral.
On Victoria Day Monday, only two testing sites in Winnipeg — at Sargent Tommy Prince Place and at the Bison Drive drive-thru — were open, while locations in Winkler and Selkirk continued to administer tests. All other locations will reopen Tuesday.
While the province has eased some restrictions related to travel and business, including camping and dining out, that is not to say that the risks of COVID-19 transmission are non-existant or that physical distancing requirements have been lifted, or that all restrictions have ended.
The province reminded Manitobans that travel is not permitted from Manitoba to areas north of the 53rd parallel, including campgrounds, "which is essentially anywhere north of the northern end of Lake Winnipeg."
Ben Waldman covers a little bit of everything for the Free Press.
Updated on Monday, May 18, 2020 at 2:07 PM CDT: Changes photo
7:14 PM: Updates story