March 30, 2020

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What to do if COVID-19 suspected

Manitoba's health department has implemented guidelines for who to call and where to go if Manitobans are concerned they may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus or are exhibiting symptoms consistent with it.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, even if they're mild, stay at home and follow local health authorities' instructions to self-isolate. Symptoms include dry cough, fever, or sore throat.

This undated electron microscope image of the Novel Coronavirus SARS- , also known as COVID-19, made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 (Niaid-Rml / AP/Canadian Press files)

This undated electron microscope image of the Novel Coronavirus SARS- , also known as COVID-19, made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 (Niaid-Rml / AP/Canadian Press files)

A self-assessment tool is online to help Manitobans determine whether they need to call Health Links–Info Santé to possibly get a referral for testing or to self-isolate. The tool provides interactive advice to users concerned about whether they have contracted COVID-19. Self-assess online with the tool here.

If you need to seek medical attention for any fever, cough or difficulty breathing, call ahead and follow instructions. Manitobans should call Health Links (1-888-315-9257) or, if it's an emergency, call 911.

People in Winnipeg who are directed to be tested will be asked to visit a community screening location. There are four locations in Winnipeg: 

  • Mount Carmel Clinic (886 Main St.)
  • Access Transcona (845 Regent Ave.)
  • Access Winnipeg West (280 Booth Dr.)
  • Access Fort Garry (135 Plaza Dr.)
  • 15 Barnes St. (Drive-up site)

Individuals in rural Manitoba directed by Health Links–Info Santé to be tested for COVID-19
will be asked to visit a community screening location. This includes:

  • Brandon: Nurses Residence Gymnasium at the Brandon Regional Health Centre (150 McTavish Ave. East)
  • Flin Flon: Channing Auditorium in the Flin Flon Community Hall, 2 North Ave.
  • Selkirk: 622 Superior Ave. (Drive-up site)
  • Steinbach: 365 Reimer Ave. (Drive-up site)
  • Thompson: Thompson Clinic in the Plaza Mall
  • The Pas: Guy Hall, 28 First St. West
  • Winkler: Winkler Centennial Arena, 600 Park St. (Drive-up site)

These clinics are not walk-in clinics. Patients must receive a referral before going for a test.

If you have not gone traveled outside of Manitoba in the past 14 days or have not been in close contact with a confirmed case, and do not have a fever, cough or other symptoms of a respiratory illness, you do NOT need to be tested for COVID-19. 

Anyone requiring screening after-hours will be directed to urgent care sites and emergency departments. The province says the centres will remain open as regularly scheduled clinics.

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, speaks during the province’s latest COVID-19 update Thursday morning. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press)

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, speaks during the province’s latest COVID-19 update Thursday morning. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press)

The province has also stated all respiratory specimens submitted to the provincial lab will be tested for COVID-19, even if such testing was not ordered.

As for travellers returning from out-of-province locations, public health officials are advising self-isolation for 14 days — meaning avoiding going out into public during that two-week span.

While the virus does pose a risk to the general public, there are certain groups the province says are at higher risk for exposure, including people 65 years and older, those with underlying medical conditions and compromised immune systems.

To mitigate risk, the province is also advising the general public to continue to exercise proper hygiene, including frequent handwashing, and sneezing and coughing into arms, not hands.

People are also advised to be skeptical of information that doesn't come from reputable sources, and to avoid unverified information.

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History

Updated on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at 7:00 PM CDT: Updated

March 24, 2020 at 7:08 PM: Updates screening-centre locations.

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