Manitoba Health Minister Hints Stricter COVID Rules May Come Tomorrow

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WINNIPEG – The Manitoba government is set to tighten restrictions in the Winnipeg area after a record number of new cases of COVID-19. Health Minister Cameron Friesen said the government had analyzed its next steps and that the chief public health officer, Dr Brent Roussin, would have something to say on Friday.

The province is reporting 193 new cases of COVID-19 – the highest jump in a day since the start of the pandemic.

Hospital resources are tested with intensive care beds at over 90% of their capacity.

The greater Winnipeg area is already subject to stricter rules than other areas, with lower public gathering limits and capacity caps in restaurants and lounges.

Friesen says these measures have not stopped the number of cases from increasing and that more action is needed.

“This discussion of what to do next is ongoing right now,” Friesen said Thursday.

“I’m sure the discussion of what is open and what could be reduced or adjusted will be on Dr. Roussin’s menu as he briefs Manitobans tomorrow. ”

The province adopted a color-coded pandemic response system this summer. The Winnipeg area is already in the amber category, forcing some bars to close and other licensed establishments to operate at reduced capacity and close every night at 11 p.m.

If the region is demoted to the red category, the government has a range of options that could include closing non-essential stores, requiring restaurants to only provide take-out and delivery, and forcing schools to stop classroom teaching and move on to distance learning.

Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said Thursday he and other politicians had discussed a red category downgrade and how it might affect their work.

“A few days ago we were already talking about how we were going to run the legislature if it is under Code Red. ”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on October 29, 2020

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