Manitoba government announces $300M spending on COVID-19 measures

The provincial government says it will spend another $300 million to enhance its response to COVID-19.

Money will go toward medical equipment, other critical needs

An employee at Stevens Home Medical Supplies in Winnipeg demonstrates an N95 face mask. The Manitoba government is procuring masks and other personal protective equipment for health-care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

The provincial government says it will spend another $300 million to enhance its response to COVID-19.

The money will buy medical equipment and protective gear, increase hotel capacity and ensure other critical needs can be met to help fight the spread of COVID-19, Central Services Minister Reg Helwer said at a news conference Friday. 

The $300 million is part of the $1 billion the legislature authorized for spending on its COVID-19 response earlier this week.

The $300 million also will be spent on opening more testing sites, establishing a COVID-19 research fund, providing training and grants for child-care workers to open small-scale daycares and bolstering the Manitoba-based 24-7 Intouch call centre to help local businesses and non-profits connect with federal government programs.

"I want you to know your government is here to support you and we'll do our best to help you through this very difficult time," Helwer said.

"And we appreciate all that you are doing, from those of you working on the front lines to the businesses and manufacturers that have answered our call for help to develop products to help fight COVID-19, those who are donating medical supplies and of course to those of you that are staying at home and staying safe."

On April 3, the provincial government announced it would spend more than $100 million to procure essential medical supplies and equipment. This $300 million is in addition to that amount.

The provincial government has asked Manitobans and local businesses to help supply products or services needed to battle the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Helwer said a number of Manitoba-based companies have "stepped up," with some pivoting to produce face shields, gowns and even N95 masks.