Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said the province must roll back its strategy to reopen in Brandon, which has a cluster of 40 COVID-19 cases, about half of which involved workers at the Maple pork plant Leaf.
Currently, Manitoba is in phase four of its reopening strategy, which allows more people to sit in bars and restaurants as long as they can maintain a distance of two meters, and a more people can gather at indoor and outdoor events, for example. There is no mask warrant in the province, but people are advised to wear one in crowded places indoors.
Lamont said Brandon should revert to the earlier stages of the phased reopening plan because he fears there is a risk of greater community transmission.
Provincial public health director Dr Brent Roussin said on Sunday that a small number of cases in Brandon may have been transmitted in the community, but most involve people who are in close contact with each other. with the others.
A second cluster is located in the Steinbach region.
Lamont said the government should be prepared to roll back the plan to reopen any COVID-19 hotspots in the province, instead of sticking to a plan for such a large geographic area.
He also said the government’s pandemic communications strategy creates confusion and does a disservice to the public when information on outbreaks is not specific. For example, Roussin will not specifically say that the Maple Leaf factory is involved. Instead, it refers to a business in Brandon.
The government maintains that it does not want to stigmatize groups of people. He declined to be specific even after media reported the outbreak was in the meat factory.
Lamont said security should be the “primary concern”.
“People fill what they don’t know with rumors and speculation,” he said.
Lamont said many of the workers at the Brandon meat factory came from foreign countries like Mexico and the Philippines, lived together in tight quarters and could not isolate themselves. He suggested that the city of Brandon consider setting up an isolation center to help contain the spread of the virus.
He said the Conservative government has virtually declared the pandemic over in Manitoba by encouraging people to travel and businesses to reopen quickly. He stressed that people don’t know where to travel if the government doesn’t specifically tell them where an epidemic is occurring, except in specific health regions, which are large places.
On Sunday, Roussin said changes would be made this week in terms of information posted on the provincial COVID-19 website. The data will be broken down by health districts within each health authority. Currently, they are listed under one of the five authorities.
“This will allow us to further break down the number of cases while still ensuring the privacy of Manitobans,” he said.