Manitoba’s premier says tighter COVID-19 restrictions will be announced going in to the May long weekend.
At a Thursday morning press conference Brian Pallister said Manitoba’s chief public health officer will be announcing the new restrictions later in the day.
“Case counts spiked after Thanksgiving, case counts spiked after Easter and Spring break — we can’t have the same thing happen after the May long weekend,” Pallister said. “The future’s in our hands.”
Exactly what the new restrictions will look like wasn’t immediately clear, but Pallister said they will “address gatherings as well as staying at home.”
Dr. Brent Roussin is scheduled to announce the new health orders at a 4 p.m. press conference. Global News will stream the event live in this story.
The government has brought in stricter public health orders three times in the last month to try to bend the curve, including a ban on most social visits in private homes. Most recently, schools in some areas, including Winnipeg and Brandon, moved to remote learning.
Indoor dining at restaurants and food courts has also been banned under current public health orders, set to last until at least the end of May.
Word of more restrictions comes a day after health officials confirmed at least three critically ill COVID-19 patients have had to be moved to care in Ontario this week over fears Manitoba’s ICUs are hitting a breaking point.
The government would not rule out more transfers in the coming days as the province faces a third wave of the pandemic.
Health officials had warned in recent days that intensive care bed space was being stressed and that the province was fast approaching the peak of the second wave, when 129 beds were occupied. Before the pandemic, capacity was 72.
On Wednesday there were 131 patients in Manitoba intensive care units, including a record-setting 80 connected to COVID-19.