Super Bowl Sunday is upon us, and Dr. Brent Roussin is urging Manitobans not to succumb to the urge to gather.
"This is a time where many people host gatherings," Manitoba’s chief public health officer said Friday afternoon. "Again, we must be cautious."
He reminded Manitobans the rules regarding indoor gathering and private residences apply and are limited to two designated visitors. Outdoor gatherings on private property are limited to five people, along with a household. Distancing applies, as do the other fundamentals.
"You can’t invite a new group over, or a large group, for a Super Bowl party," said Roussin.
"This is yet another way that we can protect ourselves and the people around us. If we have large gatherings and start seeing these super-spreader events, it’s going to delay our progress of reopening things. Please abide by the group sizes. Throw virtual Super Bowl parties."
Roussin’s second request Friday had to do with leaving home when even mildly ill, especially now that Manitobans are beginning to interact more.
Don’t, he said.
"Mild runny nose, mild sore throat, mild cough, stay home, get tested — even if you’re not sure, even if it’s very, very mild symptoms."
Roussin said he has been notified of a recent case with mild symptoms who went out and about and, as a result, had 63 contacts.
"This puts us all at risk," he said. "It’s not about the individual. It’s about what we can learn from this. Even with mild symptoms, we could have a huge impact."
Similarly, if someone else in the home needs to get tested, everyone in the household should hunker down until receiving the test results.
"This is the best way that we can get things moving forward," said Roussin.
These reminders came the day after Roussin and Premier Brian Pallister proposed what the next steps for reopening beleaguered businesses in the province might look like when current public health orders are reconsidered before they expire late next week.
The province has laid out a proposal that includes reopening, at limited capacity, restaurants, salons, gyms, places of worship and libraries, and allowing organized outdoor sports. Allowing the film industry to resume work is also on the table.
A survey put out by the province, which can be found at http://bit.ly/3joT0v6, is wide-ranging and begins by asking, "Are you personally afraid of contracting COVID-19?" and asks intentions related to taking the vaccine.
By Friday afternoon, nearly 26,000 Manitobans had taken the survey.
The second page lists a number of locations, and request respondents to rank how comfortable they would feel going to places such as work or office, restaurants, movie theatres, bars nightclubs and pubs, shopping at a standalone store and going to the gym or a yoga studio, among others.
Page three asks for the frequency of visits to the above locations prior to the pandemic, then to share how likely it is respondents would visit those locations in the next three months.
Finally, the survey asks to what extent the respondent agrees with each proposed change to the public health orders, and to rank them from one to nine in order of importance.
So far, Roussin said he’s hearing from an evenly divided Manitoba.
"I haven’t seen any results of the online survey. I’m not sure when or how that will be documented. As far as just feedback individually to me, it’s very typical of a sort of higher pandemic, where it’s a balance of people who don’t feel we should be opening anything up and then a balance of people who feel we should be opening everything up, or at least certain additional things," he said.
Roussin expects an official statement to be shared Tuesday or Wednesday on what the immediate future will look like.
FRIDAY’S COVID-19 UPDATE
The COVID-19 update from the province on Friday saw one death announced — a woman in her 40s from the Winnipeg health region.
The province reported 110 new cases, as follows:
- 13 cases in the Interlake–Eastern health region;
- 40 cases in the Northern health region;
- eight cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region;
- 11 cases in the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region; and
- 38 cases in the Winnipeg health region.
The five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate was six per cent in the province and 3.5 per cent in Winnipeg.
Lab-confirmed cases in Manitoba total 30,078.
The province reports 3,353 active cases and individuals who have recovered total a reported 25,887.
The province also reported 115 people are in hospital with active COVID-19, as well as 154 people in hospital with COVID-19 who are no longer infectious but continue to require care, for a total of 269 hospitalizations.
Twenty-three people are in intensive care units with active COVID-19, as well as 17 people with COVID-19 who are no longer infectious but continue to require critical care, for a total of 34 intensive care unit patients.
In Prairie Mountain Health, there are a reported 142 active cases, with 1,814 recovered. There are four active cases hospitalized and nine people hospitalized who are no longer infectious. There are two patients in intensive care. The region has seen 51 deaths.
Brandon’s active case count is 27, with 927 recoveries and 21 deaths.
On Thursday, 2,232 tests were completed, for 486,535 since February 2020.
» Source: Province of Manitoba
Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun