The COVID-19 outbreak that started at the end of March at Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre infected more than two dozen people and two people died as a result, public health officials admitted Tuesday.
This was revealed in an epidemiology report which was completed in July but made public last week — nearly five months after the outbreak.
According to the report, 16 staff members, five patients and four close contacts of cases were linked to this outbreak.
Before Tuesday, public health officials never said two of the deaths were linked to the outbreak at Health Sciences Centre (HSC). Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said that’s not the job of public health.
“The reporting … is quite separate from public health work,” he said.
Manitoba’s health minister admitted at a press conference on Tuesday there’s some work to do in the public health system, but by and large, the government’s record is solid.
“We believe that we’re doing well and we believe there’s always room for improvement,” Cameron Friesen said.
“I think that the record of our government on COVID-19 has been remarkable in terms of the commitment that we made to Manitobans to put good information in their hands to build structures that would give Manitobans that good information.”
Neither Friesen nor Roussin could identify which of the 16 people who’ve died in the province are related to the HSC outbreak. They wouldn’t say if the two people were patients, health-care workers or close contacts.
Friesen added that the government is working to provide rapid information about the virus, including more geographically-specific information about cases in Winnipeg.
“We’ve got a system in Manitoba right now where we’re reporting on 80 districts … to give people instant information on where those cases are taking place,” he said.