This story will be updated when the press conference begins and throughout the conference as it runs.

Manitoba set a staggering new record for daily COVID-19 cases Friday, reporting 480 new cases, as health officials announced tough new public health orders across the province including red level restrictions in the Winnipeg area.

The latest cases bring the province’s total number of cases reported since March to 5,374 and come as Manitoba’s top doctor and chief nursing officer announced the tightened restrictions at a live COVID-19 update Friday.

“We have pleaded with Manitobans to follow the fundamentals and to significantly reduce their contacts, and the numbers continue in the wrong direction,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public officer of health.

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Manitoba health minister hints at tighter rules after record coronavirus case jump

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“It is our hope that these new restrictions will help to halt the spread of this virus in order to ensure our health-care system is there for those who need it.

“I hope that this is a clear signal to Manitobans, and in particular the Winnipeg Metro Region, that we need to stay home, keep our distance and make a necessary collective sacrifice to protect all Manitobans.”

The province also announced three new deaths, bringing Manitoba’s total number fatalities related to COVID-19 to 65.

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The latest victims are a man in his 80s and a woman in her 90s, both had been residents of Parkview Place Long Term Home in Winnipeg, the province said. Their deaths are the 20th and 21st connected to a deadly and ongoing outbreak at the Edmonton Street care home.

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Manitoba’s five-day test positivity rate jumped to 8.6 per cent with the new cases, according to the province’s online COVID-19 dashboard.

As well as moving the Winnipeg area to level red, or critical, under the province’s COVID-19 pandemic response system, Roussin said the rest of Manitoba will be moving to orange, or restricted.

The changes will come into effect in all regions of Manitoba starting Monday, Roussin said.

Winnipeg under code red

In Winnipeg the move means bars and restaurants will close except for take out and delivery and most retail will be reduced to 25 per cent capacity. Sports and recreation programming will be suspended and gyms and fitness centres will have to cut capacity to 25 per cent.

Masks will now be mandatory — even when exercising — at Winnipeg gyms and fitness centres.

Movie theatres and concert halls will be closed, while faith-based gatherings are reduced to 15 per cent, or 100 people, whichever is lower.

What the province calls “personal services” will see no changes and stay at 50 per cent capacity.

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Non-urgent and elective surgeries and diagnostics will be suspended, but Roussin said some essential and time-sensitive surgeries — including cancer, cardiac and trauma —  will go ahead. He said patients will be contacted directly.

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Hospital visits have also been suspended, with some exceptions possible for patients receiving end-of-life care, in labour and delivery, as well as in pediatrics.

Level orange restrictions

Starting Monday the Southern Health, Prairie Mountain Health, and Interlake-Eastern health region will move to the restricted, or orange, level on the pandemic response system, joining the Northern Health region, which has had the orders in place for the last couple of weeks.

The restrictions will see public and private group gathering sizes limited to five people, in addition to those already in a household.

Restaurants and bars will have capacity capped at 50 per cent and group sizes will be limited to five. Retail will also be cut to 50 per cent and the province is encouraging limiting the number of people who go shopping from each household.

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Personal services will have no change and stay at 50 per cent capacity, while sports and recreation facilities will be limited to 25 per cent capacity.

We need to hear from Siragusa and @roussin_brent on this extraordinary day. But I sure hope we also hear from @BrianPallister and @CameronFriesen People are dying. Hospitals are nearing or at capacity, businesses are closing. Many more questions to be answered. Show us the way.

— Lauren McNabb (@McNabbonGlobal) October 30, 2020

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Gyms and fitness centers will being requiring contact information for all attendees and masks will be required at all times, except when exercising.

Faith-based gatherings will be cut to 20 per cent or 250 people, whichever is lower.

There will also be blended learning for Grades 9 to 12, and voluntary blended learning temporarily available for Kindergarten to Grade 8.

“The incubation period for this virus is up to 14 days – if we limit our contacts and stay home, we could see drastic reductions in transmission within weeks,” said  Roussin.

“We have done this before and I am confident we can do it again. But we need to be serious about this if we want to bend the curve.”

Record hospitalizations

Friday’s new cases include 309 in Winnipeg where the five-day test positivity rate rose to 9.7 per cent. They bring the total number of active cases reported across the province to 2,737.

The new cases were reported across the province Friday with 42 coming from the Interlake-Eastern health region, 25 coming from the Northern health regions, 10 reported in the Prairie Mountain Health region, and 94 identified in the Southern Health region.

Provincial data shows Manitoba set another grim record Friday, with 104 people in hospital with COVID-19 including 19 in intensive care.

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Manitoba Takes Decisive Action to Halt the Spread of COVID-19 https://t.co/KqzRId7d1L pic.twitter.com/0br0ybsPMV

— Manitoba Gov News (@MBGovNews) October 30, 2020

On Thursday — after the province announced a previously record-setting 193 new cases — Manitoba Health Minister Cameron Friesen hinted tighter public health measures were likely coming to the Winnipeg area.

Neither Friesen nor Premier Brian Pallister were scheduled to be part of Friday’s press event, leaving Roussin and Manitoba’s chief nursing officer, Lanette Siragusa to announce the new restrictions.

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Another record-setting day of coronavirus cases in Manitoba, 1 new death reported Thursday

Friday’s unprecedented new case count follows weeks of rising numbers across the province.

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As of Thursday Manitoba had gone 10 straight days with daily case counts of 100 or more, and 19 virus-related deaths have been announced since Oct. 21.

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Earlier in the week Siragusa warned the recent spike in cases is taking a toll on health care.

Read more:
Another 3 coronavirus deaths, 170 new cases reported in Manitoba Wednesday

At the province’s last COVID-19 press conference Wednesday she said the occupancy rate of intensive care beds had risen to 92 per cent. A few dozen surgeries have had to be cancelled because staff have had to isolate while waiting for test results, she added.

The greater Winnipeg region is already under stricter rules than other areas, with lower public gathering limits and capacity caps at restaurants and lounges.

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Manitoba health officials give grim warnings as coronavirus numbers rise

Manitoba health officials give grim warnings as coronavirus numbers rise

The province adopted a colour-coded pandemic response system in the summer. The Winnipeg region is already in the orange category, which has forced some bars to close and other licensed establishments to operate at reduced capacity and shut down nightly at 11 p.m.

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If the region is downgraded to the red category, the government has a range of options that could include closing non-essential stores, forcing restaurants to provide only takeout and delivery, and requiring schools to stop in-class instruction and move to remote learning.

–More to come.

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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