Employee at Betel Home was false positive for COVID-19, says chief public health officer

Chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said the test that said COVID-19 had arrived at Betel Home in Gimli was actually a false positive.

9 new cases on Sunday, bringing province's total to 203

An employee at Betel Home in Gimli tested positive for COVID-19 last week — but health officials now say it was a false positive. (Dave Gaudet)

The test that said a worker at a Gimli nursing home had COVID-19 was a false positive, Manitoba's top doctor says.

Chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin made the announcement at a news conference Sunday afternoon.

Last week, nine residents at Betel Home started showing symptoms of respiratory illness and were tested for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus after being in contact with the employee who was thought to have it.

Roussin said on Saturday that no residents at the home tested positive for COVID-19.

Sherry-Lee Benson Podolchuk's 95-year-old father lives at the home. She said those with loved ones at the facility have been anxious and worried since learning of the positive test. 

"A huge sigh of relief, and yet we still have to be very vigilant," she said.

Sherry-Lee Benson-Podolchuk (right) with her dad, Harvey Benson (left) who lives at the Betel Home. (Submitted by Tanis Benson)

She said the possibility of the virus inside the care home was stressful for everyone, but she's happy with how the situation was handled.

"Getting them tested that quickly, and the results as fast as they came through which was great. And then [the false positive] is just wonderful news," she said.

"This is an opportunity for everybody to realize it can happen in our little small community."

9 new cases announced

Roussin also announced nine new cases on Sunday, bringing the province's total number of COVID-19 cases to 203.

Of these patients, 11 people are in hospital, with seven of those in intensive care.

Roussin said 17 people who tested positive for COVID-19 in Manitoba have since recovered, although he could not say whether any of them needed to be treated at a hospital.

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The total number of deaths related to the disease remains at two, Roussin said.

The province's Cadham lab performed 488 tests on Saturday, bringing the total number of COVID-19 tests done in Manitoba to 12,998.

Manitoba Shared Health chief nursing officer Lanette Siragusa said the province has an adequate supply of personal protective equipment, including surgical masks, gowns and gloves.

WATCH | Lanette Siragusa talks about stocks of personal protective gear in Manitoba:

Lanette Siragusa talks about stocks of personal protective gear in Manitoba

CBC News Manitoba

11 months ago
Manitoba Shared Health chief nursing officer Lanette Siragusa talks about getting more personal protective equipment in Manitoba to keep health-care workers from getting infected with COVID-19 on the job. 0:55

But it's still doing an assessment to make sure its supply of protective gear will be enough for its health-care workers, plus people working in places like private clinics and the justice system, in the long run.

"We're doing a real thorough review right now to say, 'What do we need to come in, and what's going out?'" she said.

Siragusa said the province is expecting a shipment of protective equipment to arrive on Monday.

First Winnipeg isolation centre opens

Manitoba is setting up isolation centres for people who may need extra help to self-isolate, like those experiencing homelessness. The first centre has been set up in a Winnipeg hotel and started accepting patients this weekend.

Siragusa could not give the location of the centre on Sunday, but said several health-care workers have been screened and one has been admitted to the new centre.

The space opened with a soft launch this weekend, and more staff will officially start on Monday, she said.

WATCH | Lanette Siragusa gives details about Winnipeg's first COVID-19 self-isolation centre:

Lanette Siragusa talks about Winnipeg's first COVID-19 isolation centre

CBC News Manitoba

11 months ago
Manitoba Shared Health chief nursing officer Lanette Siragusa gives some details about a self-isolation centre officially opening this week at a Winnipeg hotel. 1:01

"We're meeting more today about the intake process, and so we'll continue to gradually build up over the next week," she said.

"I did talk to the health-care worker who is in the hotel last night, and she was feeling very relieved and comfortable to have that space away from her loved ones that she was worried about."

Siragusa said the province's contact tracing centre has started staffing people, including about 80 students, and is set to open sometime this week.

WATCH | Full news conference on COVID-19 | April 5, 2020:

Manitoba government daily briefing on coronavirus: April 5

CBC News Manitoba

11 months ago
Provincial officials give update on COVID-19 outbreak: Sunday, April 5, 2020. 38:06

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