No more visitors in Manitoba homes as some COVID-19 rules tightened

·2 min read

WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is tightening some of its public-health orders as COVID-19 numbers rise.

"We are at a very critical point now," Premier Brian Pallister said Monday.

Pallister said variants of concern have added extra hurdles to the province's pandemic response, and the number of infections and hospitalizations has risen significantly in recent weeks.

He said tighter restrictions are needed to slow down that spread.

Starting Wednesday, people will not be allowed to have visitors at their homes, indoors or out, with some exceptions for people who live alone.

Attendance at religious services will be cut to a maximum of 10 people. It was previously set at 25 per cent capacity, or 100 people, whichever was lower.

Food courts in shopping malls will have to close, and retail store capacity will be reduced to 25 per cent from 33 per cent.

The province's chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, said the measures will be in place for four weeks.

Health officials reported 210 new cases and one death. There were 148 people in hospital due to COVID-19, with 37 in intensive care.

Roussin said younger people are being infected and hospitalized during the third wave of the pandemic.

"Cases are increasing in most age groups but are rapidly advancing in those in their 20s and 30s," Roussin said.

The average age of COVID-19 patients in intensive care is 56 — significantly younger than last fall during the second wave.

Earlier Monday, Manitoba expanded its COVID-19 vaccination priority program to include all adults who live or work in the northern health region.

Adults who live in the Seven Oaks West neighbourhood in Winnipeg can also now get a shot, as can people who work there in certain public-facing jobs, including teachers, grocery store workers and child care staff.

The province announced similar priority measures last week for three neighbourhoods in central Winnipeg.

Elsewhere in the province, the minimum age for vaccinations remains at 30 and up for First Nations people, and 40 and up for others.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 26, 2021.

The Canadian Press