9 residents sick with respiratory symptoms at Gimli care home after worker tests positive for COVID-19
Patient at Riverview Health Centre in Winnipeg has also tested positive, says Dr. Brent Roussin
Manitoba has confirmed cases of COVID-19 at two centres offering long-term care in the province, public health officials announced Thursday — including one where several residents are now showing symptoms of respiratory illness.
Nine residents at Betel Home in Gimli are being tested for COVID-19. They were put into isolation after potential exposure to the disease when a worker at the Interlake care home became sick, said Dr. Brent Roussin, the province's chief public health officer.
One other person at Riverview Health Centre in Winnipeg — which provides long-term and palliative care — has also tested positive for the virus, Roussin said. Public health officials believe that person didn't have contact with any other patients, but Roussin did not have a number of how many staff are believed to have been exposed.
The patient was not a resident of the facility's personal care home, a spokesperson for the province said.
"I'm aware of a case, but because of the strict adherence they had at the time, there [were] no other clients being exposed," he said. "So that investigation, as far as clients go, is done."
The announcement marks the first confirmed case in a Manitoba long-term care home of the deadly disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
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Roussin said he was made aware that the Betel worker had tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.
The facility has implemented its outbreak protocols and isolation is in place to prevent further spread, Roussin said.
Manitoba announced new 40 cases of COVID-19, bringing the province's total to 167 as of Thursday morning.
Additional cases in health-care workers
Eleven individuals have recovered from COVID-19 as of Thursday, Roussin said. Five people are in hospital, including four in intensive care. The total number of deaths reported in the province remains at one.
Three additional health-care workers at two separate Manitoba health-care facilities have tested positive for COVID-19, Roussin said Thursday.
In addition to the Betel worker, some staff members at Winnipeg's Health Sciences Centre have tested positive for the disease.
More than three dozen nurses from the facility are self-isolating, as well as six security guards, doctors and other staff as a result, unions say.
Those workers are all in self-isolation, she said.
"It does not mean that all those people have been infected," she said. "Its really more an abundance of caution."
"We know what impact COVID-19 has had on health-care workers around the world, and in the last few days the true reality of what's been happening elsewhere is starting to be felt in Manitoba," Siragusa said.
The province had previously confirmed additional cases in health-care workers include at Winnipeg's Grace Hospital and St. Boniface Hospital, as well as the Selkirk Regional Health Centre.
Several staff members from the hospitals are self-isolating.
Expanded use of personal protective equipment
Right now, health-care workers in Manitoba do move around between health-care facilities, Siragusa said.
But the system is looking at ways to limit that movement to reduce the potential for transmission between centres.
"We have asked them to look at identifying who can stay in one place," Siragusa said. "Ideally, that would be as soon as possible."
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The province is also expanding the use of personal protective equipment among health-care workers, Siragusa said.
Workers will now wear a surgical mask, gown and gloves when dealing with "all patients, all the time," she said.
N95 masks will continue to be used only for aerosol-generating procedures such as intubation.
Supplies of personal protective equipment are expected to be sufficient for this new policy, she added, and more are expected to arrive in the future.
"As we now see community spread, we have to increase our attention to this matter and ensure we put all protections in place for those who may have COVID that we can't tell ahead of time," she said.
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Siragusa confirmed workers are being asked to wear the personal protective equipment their entire shift and only swap out things like masks when soiled. The measure is intended to reduce risk from repeatedly putting on and taking off equipment, she said.
On Wednesday, Roussin announced community transmission had been officially detected in Winnipeg for the first time.
Public health officials were unable to determine the transmission chain for five cases in the city, he said.
More than 11,300 tests were completed at the province's Cadham Provincial Laboratory as of Thursday, Roussin said, including 1,300 on Wednesday alone.
The lab has eliminated the backlog in tests waiting to be processed, he said.
The lab is looking at increasing its volume of tests completed, Roussin said Thursday. However, he said it's unlikely to be able to speed up its current average turnaround time of 24 to 48 hours.
WATCH | Full news conference on COVID-19 | April 2, 2020:
- A previous version of this story stated a worker at Riverview tested positive for COVID-19. In fact, it was a patient who tested positive for COVID-19 at Riverview.Apr 02, 2020 3:57 PM CT