Manitoba reported 40 new cases of the novel coronavirus Friday, tying the province’s record for the most cases reported in a single day.

The province hasn’t seen that many new new lab-confirmed and probable cases reported since April 2.

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Coronavirus — Manitoba records 25 new cases Thursday

The new COVID-19 cases reported in Manitoba Friday, bring the province’s total number of cases since March to 643.

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, says 25 of the cases are from the Prairie Mountain Health region, five are from southern Manitoba, and 10 are in Winnipeg.

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He said preliminary investigations show the majority of the Prairie Mountain cases are linked to an ongoing outbreak in Brandon, where he says there has been early indication of community transmission is occurring.  He said 39 workers from Brandon’s Maple Leaf pork processing plant have now tested positive for the virus.

As for the 10 cases in Winnipeg — where 27 new cases have been identified since Tuesday — Roussin said many appear to be travel related or a close contact to a known case, although he said there is evidence of community spread in Manitoba’s largest city as well.

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“We’ve seen this growth in cases, and we know that many of them are linked to other cases or clusters, but we are seeing some evidence of community-based transmission,” he said, adding investigators are seeing a rising number of contacts for those who are testing positive.

“We’ve seen cases earlier in this month that have had 25 plus contacts, so these are indications that we are starting to lose track of our fundamentals — that each case is having a bit more contact than they did before — it’s a good reminder that we need to get back to those fundamentals.

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“Staying home when you’re ill, even mild symptoms, practice good hand hygiene, do not share items with others, and practice physical distancing.”

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As of Friday morning Manitoba had 246 active known cases, with nine people in hospital, including three who are in intensive care with the virus. Eight Manitobans have died from COVID-19 since the first case was reported in the province in March and 389 have recovered.

Manitoba also reported it’s highest number of tests completed in a single day Thursday — 2,288 — bringing the total number of tests completed since early February to 110,492.

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Public health officials warned Friday of three recent potential exposures to COVID-19 including one at the Minnedosa Hospital Aug. 10.

Manitoba has now tied our single worst day for new COVID cases. 40 new cases reported today.
– total now 643
– 246 active cases
– 9 hospitalizations, 3 in ICU
– 110,492 tests done
– 2,288 tests completed yesterday

— Brittany Greenslade (@BrittAtGlobal) August 14, 2020

They say other exposures are possible at the Sobey’s on 18th Street in Brandon Aug. 7, and the Cartwright Town and Country Golf Club, just west of Cartwright, Man. Aug. 9.

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Officials say the risk of transmission is low, but anyone who was at the locations during the specified days should get tested if symptoms appear.

The new cases come after the province unveiled more details about plans to have students return to the classroom in September Thursday.

Province says the majority of Prairie Mountain Health cases are linked to previously announced cases in Brandon, with early indications of community transmission.

— Brittany Greenslade (@BrittAtGlobal) August 14, 2020

Under the plan, face masks will be “strongly recommended” but not mandatory for students and staff when schools reopen in Manitoba on Sept. 8.

Under the practice guidance and protocols unveiled Thursday, students in grades 5 to 12, as well as staff and others in schools, are recommended to wear non-medical masks in common areas and where physical distancing isn’t possible.

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The province says younger students can also use non-medical masks if they or their parents or caregivers choose, but masks should not be worn by anyone who is unable to remove them without help or by anyone with breathing difficulties.

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Masks ‘strongly recommended’ but not mandatory in Manitoba’s updated back-to-school plans

Masks ‘strongly recommended’ but not mandatory in Manitoba’s updated back-to-school plans

All students Grade 5 and up, and bus drivers, will be required to wear masks on school buses.

While other jurisdictions in Canada have mandated mask wearing in public, Roussin has so far not put similar orders into place in Manitoba.

Read more:
Masks ‘strongly recommended’ but not mandatory in Manitoba’s updated back-to-school plans

But Roussin has previously recommended wearing masks when in an indoor setting, especially when physical distancing isn’t possible, something he reiterated Friday.

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“I think Manitobans should be all ensuring they have access to masks if they can,” he said.

“But more and more, in those indoor public places, when we can’t be sure that we can physically distance, let’s put a mask on.”

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

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For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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