New self-isolation rules announced as Manitoba reports 5 more COVID-19 deaths, 241 new cases

Another five people with COVID-19 have died in Manitoba, including four more deaths connected with outbreaks at St. Boniface Hospital and personal care homes, health officials announced Monday.

They also reported 241 new cases of the illness, bringing the total number of infections in Manitoba since the start of the pandemic to 6,275.

As new restrictions came into effect across the province, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin also announced new rules for people in the Winnipeg region who are self-isolating due to possible COVID-19 exposure.

If any member of a household has symptoms of COVID-19, the entire household must self-isolate, he said at a news conference Monday afternoon.

“If a family has a child at home with symptoms of COVID, that entire family is to self-isolate pending results of that test. So it means no one else goes to school, no one goes to work, until that test result is back,” he said.

The person experiencing symptoms should stay in their own room and, if possible, use their own bathroom and avoid common areas, provincial health officials advise. Household members who are health-care workers or first responders are exempt from the new isolation rules, as long as they’re asymptomatic.

“We know that this will lead to a lot of absenteeism. It’s in keeping with our message that people should be staying home, for the most part,” Roussin said.

Roussin acknowledged that isolating from all household members could be difficult for many, and said the province has alternative accommodations available.

This latest measure comes as Manitoba, and the Winnipeg region in particular, continue to see climbing COVID-19 numbers.

Over the previous three days, Manitoba had reported 1,141 new cases of COVID-19, including 480 announced Friday — the highest number ever reported on a single day. Thirteen more deaths were also announced over that three-day period.

One of the five deaths announced Monday involves a woman in her 80s connected to an outbreak at the Saul and Claribel Simkin Centre. The centre had announced her death on the weekend, but it had not officially been reported by the province until Monday.

The other deaths include a woman in her 50s from the Winnipeg Health region, a woman in her 60s connected to an outbreak at St. Boniface Hospital, a woman in her 70s connected to an outbreak at the Parkview Place outbreak and a woman in her 90s connected to the Maples Personal Care Home outbreak.

These deaths bring the total in Manitoba since the start of the pandemic to 80.

New restrictions in effect

Monday’s update was the first from Roussin since Friday, when he announced the Winnipeg area would move to the red, or critical, level on the province’s pandemic scale. That change came into effect Monday. 

The rest of the province is now at the orange, or restricted, level.

WATCH | Restaurant owners fear closure as new restrictions come into effect:

Restaurant owners wonder how they will keep their business afloat after Winnipeg and the surrounding area were placed under heightened pandemic restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19. 1:26

The widespread restrictions across the province include reduced capacity or closures of many businesses, smaller gathering sizes, and a requirement that businesses gather contact information from customers to assist in contact tracing.

The new measures will remain in place for at least two weeks.

At a press conference earlier Monday, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said the province was “seriously considering” implementing a curfew to stop people from gathering in large groups, and said he plans to release more details about plans to enforce pandemic restrictions later this week. 

Asked about increased enforcement, Roussin said it may be necessary at this point.

“It’s certainly going to be part of our tools, because we don’t have time. We need these restrictions to be followed now, not two weeks from now.”

ICU beds added

Chief Nursing Officer Lanette Siragusa, speaking at Monday’s news conference, said the health care system has begun the work of “flexing up” capacity in anticipation of a coming surge in COVID-19 patients over the coming weeks.

Three new intensive care unit (ICU) beds have been added in Winnipeg over the weekend, combined with six available beds in Brandon, bringing the total number of critical care beds in the province to 80, up from 71. 

As of 9:10 a.m. Monday, ICUs were at 94 per cent capacity with 74 of those beds were being used — 18 occupied by COVID-19 patients, Siragusa said.

In the past week, 50 health care workers — including 48 in Winnipeg — have tested positive for COVID-19. 

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 rose slightly to 124, up from 120 on Sunday, including 18 in intensive care units.

Manitoba’s five-day test-positivity rate — a rolling average of the number of COVID-19 tests that come back positive — is now nine per cent, extending a streak of setting new records to a fifth day.

In Winnipeg, the test-positivity rate is 9.8 per cent, although health officials caution that number is less reliable due to the smaller sample size.  

Hospital and care home outbreaks

Outbreaks at Winnipeg hospitals and personal care homes continued to grow over the weekend. 

As of Monday, 19 care homes in Manitoba had active outbreaks, with at least 355 cases and 37 deaths.

The Maples Personal Care Home outbreak has led to six deaths and has now infected 146 people, including 117 residents, overtaking Parkview Place as the largest care home outbreak in the province.

Parkview Place remains the deadliest outbreak in Manitoba, with 23 deaths and 138 infections, including 106 staff members. 

The Maples Personal Care Home in Winnipeg now has the largest care home COVID-19 outbreak in Manitoba with 146 infections. (Travis Golby/CBC)

Outbreaks have been declared at two more Winnipeg personal care homes: the Convalescent Home of Winnipeg and the Poseidon Care Home. An outbreak at the Calvary Place Personal Care Home in Winnipeg has been declared over.

The outbreak at Victoria General Hospital now has 77 cases, including 40 patients and 37 staff members.

Three more staff members at St. Boniface Hospital are now infected with COVID-19, the hospital announced on its website, but did not give an update on the total number of cases. Four people linked to that outbreak have died.

Winnipeg had the bulk of the new cases announced Monday, with 122 infections. The Southern Health region had 44 new cases, and there were 35 new cases in the Interlake-Eastern health region, 29 in the Northern Health region, and 11 in the Prairie Mountain Health region. 

Provincial data shows there are currently 3,455 active cases in Manitoba, with 2,740 people recovered, although the number of active cases is likely inflated because of a backlog clearing recovered cases, the province says.

WATCH | Full news conference on COVID-19 | Nov. 2, 2020:

Provincial officials give update on COVID-19 outbreak: Monday, November 2, 2020. 1:02:39

More possible exposures

The province announced more possible exposures around Manitoba:

Winnipeg

  • Oct. 19: Henry G. Izatt Middle School (960 Scurfield Blvd.).
  • Oct. 19 to 21: 
    • Acadia Junior High (175 Killarney Ave.).
    • O.V. Jewitt Community School (66 Neville St.)
  • Oct. 20 and/or 22: Transcona Collegiate (1305 Winona St.).
  • Oct. 20 to 22, and Oct. 26: École Guyot (400 Willowlake Cres.).
  • Oct. 21 and 22: Fort Richmond Collegiate (99 Killarney Ave.).
  • Oct. 23: École Viscount Alexander (810 Waterford Ave).
  • Oct. 23 and 27: Shaftesbury High School (2240 Grant Ave.).
  • Oct. 26 and 27: 
    • Centre Scolaire Léo-Rémillard (1095 St Anne’s Rd.).
    • Oakenwald School (666 Oakenwald Ave.).
    • Sister MacNamara School (460 Sargent Ave.)
    • Glenlawn Collegiate (770 St. Mary’s Rd.).
    • École Munroe Middle School (405 Munroe Ave.).
  • Oct. 26 and 28: Shamrock School (831 Beaverhill Blvd.).
  • Oct. 26 to 28: École Dieppe (530 Dieppe Rd.).
  • Oct. 28 and 29: Elmwood High School (505 Chalmers Ave.).