WINNIPEG — Manitoba reported its 20th COVID-19 death Monday as the number of cases continued to rise in Winnipeg and the north.
A man in his 70s from the Prairie Mountain health region in western Manitoba died while in hospital, officials said.
The province reported 39 new COVID-19 cases, including 22 in the Winnipeg region where numbers have spiked in recent weeks, prompting tighter restrictions that took effect Monday. Masks are now mandatory in indoor public areas in the capital area and public gatherings have been capped at 10 people.
Seven cases were in a First Nations community in northern Manitoba. They were all family members of a woman who had returned from receiving medical care in Winnipeg, the community's chief said.
"I would like to send well wishes to the family that just received the news. Keep them in your prayers," Chief Leroy Constant of York Factory First Nation wrote on the community's Facebook page.
At one point in July, Manitoba was down to one known active COVID-19 case, but numbers have increased sharply since then and the latest surge has been concentrated in Winnipeg.
The province's chief public health officer said Monday there will be guidelines issued soon for Halloween, and warned the celebration will feel different from previous years.
"If we're going to have any sense of Halloween, we're going to have to do it in a way that limits many, many contacts," Dr. Brent Roussin said.
"There's numerous points of contact with trick-or-treating, and ... it is brief interventions or interactions but it still, when you add it all together, can have a significant impact."
The Saskatchewan government recently issued guidelines for Halloween, which suggest people doling out candy using tongs or other tools to avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters.
The Manitoba government also announced Monday that it will support a new smartphone app from the federal government that notifies users when they have been in close contact with someone infected with COVID-19.
Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick also have the app.
Manitoba Health Minister Cameron Friesen said it took time to ensure the app's information can work with the province's health system, and the system should be up and running later this week.
Friesen said the app will only work well if many people sign up for it, and the government will promote its use.
"It's another tool that we can refer to in this very complex response to COVID-19."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2020.
Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press