Southern Health is moving to level red on Monday. Dr. Brent Roussin, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer made that announcement Friday afternoon.
"We've been messaging to Manitobans for quite some time about the importance of the fundamentals and to reduce their contacts, but as we can see our cases have gone in the wrong direction," says Dr. Roussin. "We are seeing more cases, more strain on the health care system and so further action is required."
Changes in the Southern Health region mirror those in the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region including:
- Bars and restaurants will be closed except for take-out and delivery.
- Most retail will be reduced to 25 per cent capacity.
- Sports and recreation programming will be suspended.
- Gyms and fitness centres will have reduced capacity to 25 per cent and masks will be mandatory, even when exercising.
- Movie theatres and concert halls will close.
- Personal services have no change and stay at 50 per cent capacity.
- Faith-based gatherings are reduced to 15 per cent or 100 people, whichever is lower.
- Non-urgent and elective surgeries and diagnostics will be suspended. Scheduled surgeries in a number of essential and time-sensitive areas will continue to be performed including cancer, cardiac and trauma. Patients will be contacted directly if their scheduled surgeries are affected.
- In-patient visitation to hospitals or health centres will be suspended, with exceptions made on a case-by-case basis for patients receiving end-of-life care, in labour and delivery, as well as in pediatrics.
- Designated family caregivers may continue to visit personal care homes. General visitation may be suspended with exceptions in place for end-of-life care. General visitation to outdoor visitation shelters will be implemented, once operational.
In addition to these changes, the province is encouraging businesses in the Southern Health region to have staff work from home wherever possible, and for residents to stay home when sick and take whatever action possible to reduce their contacts and otherwise gathering in public.
Meanwhile, schools within the Portage la Prairie School Division will remain at level orange, under the direction of Manitoba Education. The following letter was sent out to parents today.
As these restrictions go into place and in all regions, Manitobans are reminded that compliance and enforcement issues can be reported by visiting www.manitoba.ca/COVID19 and completing the reporting form, or by calling 204-945-3744 or 1-866-626-4862 (toll-free) and pressing option three on the call menu. Increased measures to enforce COVID-19 public health orders were announced yesterday to ensure orders enacted to protect the public during the pandemic are observed, says Dr. Roussin.
The province recently announced the fines for breaching or failing to comply with public health or emergency orders have been increased to $1,296 for individuals and $5,000 for corporations.
Manitobans are still strongly encouraged to focus on these fundamentals to help stop the spread of COVID-19:
- Stay home if you are sick or when any member of your family is sick.
- Significantly reduce the number of close contacts outside your household, and avoid closed-in or crowded spaces.
- Wash/sanitize your hands, cover your cough and physically distance when you are with people outside your household.
- If you cannot physically distance, you should wear a mask to help reduce your risk.
- Get a flu shot.
Unless recommended by public health officials, only individuals experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should go for testing. Individuals with symptoms are asked to seek testing as soon as possible once symptoms are present. Employers are asked to only send employees for testing if they have symptoms or if testing has been recommended by public health officials.
Public health officials are advising Manitobans living in the Southern Health region that if you are symptomatic, or if someone in your household is symptomatic, your entire household needs to self-isolate pending COVID-19 test results. The symptomatic individual needs to stay in their own room and, if possible, use their own bathroom and not use common areas. This does not apply to asymptomatic household members if they are an essential worker required to wear PPE while at work such as health-care workers or first responders. This recommendation is also in effect for the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region. For information on self-isolation, visit:www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/updates/resources.html#collapse2.
The online assessment tool can be found at https://sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19/screening-tool/ and COVID-19 symptoms can be found at www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/updates/about.html#collapse4.
For up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Manitoba, visit www.manitoba.ca/COVID19.
For up-to-date information on the #RestartMB Pandemic Response System, visit: https://manitoba.ca/covid19/restartmb/prs/index.html.