18 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba identified over weekend, including 10 on Hutterite colonies
20 people from three different Hutterite colonies have tested positive for novel coronavirus
There were 18 new cases of COVID-19 identified in Manitoba over the weekend.
There were seven cases announced on Saturday and Sunday and 11 cases announced on Monday.
Of these 18 cases, 10 are linked to Hutterite colonies, two are linked to international travel, one is a transport driver and three are close contacts of known cases, the province's Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said on Monday.
In total, 20 people from three different Hutterite colonies have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and Roussin says the majority are linked to a large gathering that took place in Alberta.
"A reminder again to Manitobans to be kind. Let's avoid stigmatizing people, let's avoid calling out individuals," Roussin said.
Many Hutterites have been ramping up their own efforts to fight the disease, according to Kenny Wollmann, who sits on the Huttarian Safety Council's COVID-19 task force.
"A lot of Hutterites have been getting tested simply to play it safe because once it does come into a community, simply because of the way right community life is organized, it's exceedingly difficult to curb it," he said.
Wollmann said many Hutterites who live on colonies live communally where they work, eat and worship together daily, meaning the risk of transmitting the virus is heightened.
He said he's heard numerous reports of Hutterites being treated differently because of the cases of COVID-19.
"I received quite a few reports of increased scrutiny and concern. Some communities reported that they received phone calls from their neighbours asking if they had any positive cases," he said.
Luckily, all those cases ended well and were just awkward, Wollmann said.
Another one of the new cases was a passenger on Asiana flight OZ 0704 from Manila, Philippines, to Seoul, South Korea, on July 7. Flights flagged by public health include Air Canada AC 0064 Seoul to Vancouver on July 8 (rows 26 to 32) and Air Canada AC 0296 Vancouver to Winnipeg on July 8 (rows 21 to 27).
People who sat in these rows are advised to self-isolate for 14 days following the flight and monitor for symptoms.
Passengers who are not in the affected seats should self-monitor for symptoms and self-isolate if they develop, Roussin said.
11 cases from Interlake-Eastern
Eleven of the 18 cases from the weekend are in the Interlake-Eastern health region. Three cases are in the Winnipeg health region, three are in the Prairie Mountain Health region and one case in the Southern Health region.
There are two cases that public health officials have not yet been able to link to travel or another case. Cases without known transmission chains are considered community spread.
Those two cases are from the Winnipeg and Southern health regions, Roussin said.
The total number of confirmed and probable positive cases in Manitoba is now 354. There are 29 active cases, while 318 people have recovered.
WATCH | Dr. Roussin implores Manitobans not to get complacent:
"It's not unexpected to see more cases as we re-open," Roussin said.
"It's a reminder that we can't let our guards down. We have to continue to find ways to live with this virus, to fall back on the fundamentals that got Manitobans here."
One person is in intensive care in hospital. This is the first time a Manitoban has been in hospital for COVID-19-related reasons in more than a month.
Roussin addresses CFL bid
Roussin spoke to Premier Brian Pallister's announcement on Monday in which he indicated the province would commit $8 million to restart large events, including spending $2.5 million on a bid to have the CFL play the truncated 2020 season in Winnipeg .
He said there's a plan in place for players, some of whom are coming from the U.S., to ensure the virus isn't spread in the province.
"These are not individuals that are travelling to Winnipeg that can interact with other Manitobans. They will be contained within a bubble, within a league bubble," Roussin said.
"There's going to be a period of self-isolation, there's going to be mandatory testing that's taking place in there, and, again, that's all going to be done within the league bubble. It's really a plan that takes in consideration the health of Manitobans."
Roussin says public health officials haven't discussed the possibility of having fans in the stands yet.
Manitoba public health officials have the authority to cancel the season, if need be, he added.
There had been 76,354 COVID-19 tests done in Manitoba to date as of Monday. The province's five-day test positivity rate — a rolling average of the percentage of completed tests that came back as positive — was 0.83 per cent.
The testing site in The Pas, Man., at 328 Fischer Avenue will have limited hours on Monday. It's open between 1 pm and 4 p.m. It will be closed temporarily for building maintenance on Tuesday and Wednesday, with regular hours resuming on Thursday.
WATCH | Full news conference on COVID-19 | July 20, 2020: