There were 49 new cases of COVID-19 announced in Manitoba on Monday, 24 of them newly added to Sunday’s cases.
Of the new cases, 35 were found in the Prairie Mountain Health region. Eight of the cases were in Winnipeg, four in Southern Health and two in the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority.
According to the province’s online COVID-19 statistics dashboard, there are 196 active cases of the virus in Prairie Mountain Health, of which 114 are in Brandon alone. In the entire province, there are 295 active cases.
There have been 320 cases in Prairie Mountain Health since July 1.
Sunday’s total of 72 cases was the highest-ever single-day total recorded in Manitoba and those 24 additional cases raise the number to 96.
During Monday’s COVID-19 briefing, chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said preliminary findings indicate a majority of the new Prairie Mountain Health cases are linked to “testing related to known clusters and communal living communities.”
Public health officials are also warning that exposure to the virus may have occurred at the Corral Centre Safeway in Brandon from 2 to 6 p.m. on Aug. 15, 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 18 and 2 to 4:45 p.m. on Aug. 19.
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» Code Orange impact to show up in two weeks
Those who may have been in the business at those times are advised to self-monitor for symptoms, but the risk of transmission is considered low.
Monday was the first day that Prairie Mountain Health was under the “Code Orange” health restrictions that require, among other things, mandatory mask use in public indoor spaces as well as indoor and outdoor gatherings sizes of no more than 10 people.
Exemptions for mask use are granted to children under five years of age, people with medical conditions other than COVID-19 preventing safe mask use and people who cannot put on or remove a mask without assistance.
Asked how soon it would take for the impacts of the Code Orange restrictions to show up in the daily COVID-19 numbers, Roussin said it would take 10 to 14 days at minimum.
“Everyone who’s going to develop COVID in the next, say, 10 days or so have been exposed prior to these restrictions,” he said. “After that, we’ll be able to get a sense on whether there’s less transmission going on.”
Roussin said there’s no set time for how long the restrictions will last for until they’re downgraded, but indicated test numbers would have to trend downwards for that to happen.
In addition to the regional restrictions, all Manitobans will be required to wear non-medical masks inside hospitals and health centres effective Sept. 1, according to a news release sent out by Health Minister Cameron Friesen on Monday. This was already a condition of Code Orange, but it will now be mandatory across the province.
“As we move towards the fall, additional proactive and preventative measures are needed to ensure the risk of exposure to this virus is minimized for patients and our dedicated front-line clinical staff who care for them,” Friesen said.
Visitors must arrive at facilities with their own masks. The use of masks in primary care clinics and other health facilities is not mandatory at this point, but their use is recommended by the province.