WINNIPEG — Manitoba announced changes to its self-isolation requirements Friday for fully vaccinated people as it broke its record for new COVID-19 cases for the fourth time this week.
The province reported another 1,494 cases, breaking the record of 1,123 set a day earlier.
Starting Saturday, all fully vaccinated Manitobans who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to self-isolate for five days instead of 10.
The new public order also requires all people who test positive to isolate, including those who completed a rapid antigen test.
"We need to ensure we take steps to protect our health-care system and other critical services during this surge of COVID-19 cases, many linked to the Omicron variant," Health Minister Audrey Gordon said in a statement.
"These changes will help ensure everyone who should self-isolate does, regardless of how they tested, and will reduce the strain on the health-system workforce, as well as other key sectors as more workers report they have contracted COVID-19."
The government said the first day of isolation should begin when symptoms first appear or the date a test was done, whichever day is later.
After the five-day isolation period for vaccinated people is over, they must wear a medical-grade mask while in a public setting for another five days.
The rules for people who aren't vaccinated call for 10 days of isolation starting on the day of their test.
Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba's chief public health officer, said people should get immunized as soon as possible, including a third dose when eligible, reduce contact with others and stay home as much as possible.
"We have looked at data from Manitoba and other jurisdictions, and feel these changes will balance reducing the spread of COVID-19 while ensuring critical services can continue to operate," he said in a news release.
Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick and Ontario have also reduced the self-isolation period to five days.
Earlier in the day, the province said there were 9,924 active cases and five new deaths, bringing Manitoba’s total to 1,392. There were 192 people in hospital due to COVID-19, including 30 in intensive care.
On Thursday, the federal government announced more than $8 million in funding for Manitoba to help people who have COVID-19 to access safe isolation sites.
— By Daniela Germano in Edmonton.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 31, 2021.
The Canadian Press