Second Manitoban dies from COVID-19, new info on test strategies released

Another death due to COVID-19 has been reported in Winnipeg.

Manitoba health officials announced a second death due to the virus April 3, a man in his 50s from Winnipeg. Over 175 people have died from the disease across Canada, with official numbers expected to rise throughout April.

article continues below

Chief provincial health officer Dr. Brent Roussin also confirmed 15 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba during the April 3 provincial government briefing on the disease.

“None of this is a statistic for us,” he said. 

“These are Manitobans that we lost and a lot of people are working day and night to limit the amount of days like this.”

Nine Manitobans are in hospital with COVID-19. Six of the nine are in intensive care. As of April 3, 11 people in Manitoba who have tested positive for COVID-19 have now recovered.

The province has also put out early plans for new medical facilities in Brandon and Thompson. Manitoba chief nursing officer Lanette Siragusa said those facilities are not planned as makeshift hospitals, but instead as places to help people self-isolate.

“If medical care is required, people need to be in a hospital,” Siragusa said.

“We see these isolation centers as an important way to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Roussin said testing is now focused on testing symptomatic health care workers, people living in group settings and First Nations. Roussin said Manitoba has yet to detect a case within an Indigenous community.

“There's no benefit in testing people without symptoms,” he said.

“A negative test from a person without symptoms is not reliable. They could still be incubating that virus.”

Siragusa continued to call for companies to donate any medical supplies to help replenish the province’s stockpile.

“We are well stocked at this time for weeks to come, but we must take every step we can to prepare for this virus that has overwhelmed other health systems throughout the world,” she said.

Roussin had been discouraging mask use for the general population, but with the U.S.' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommending mask use, he softened his tone on the subject. He hammered home that social distancing is the best way to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.

“If we go out, then we should be practicing social distancing at all times,” he said. 

“If on top of that you wanted to wear a mask, then perhaps there's an added benefit of not touching your face. If you're using a homemade mask, it’s difficult to know if it actually provides a benefit.”

The Ontario government released data April 3 that projects 1,500 or more could die from COVID-19 in the province by the end of April.

Premier Brian Pallister said earlier April 3 the province is planning on releasing some of their data next week.

© Melita New Era