Top doctor reminds spring break travellers to get tested, isolate upon return to Manitoba

Manitobans who travelled out of province over spring break are being reminded they must get tested and isolate for two weeks upon return, according to local COVID-19 public health rules.

Anyone entering Manitoba, including domestic travellers and Manitobans heading home, are required to self-isolate for 14 days when they arrive.

On Tuesday, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin pointed to those rules in reminding those who left for a non-essential purpose over spring break that they must get tested and isolate, with few exceptions.

“It’s imperative that we continue to keep our case numbers down related to that variant, and by not travelling outside the province, that’s our best way of doing so,” he said. “I encourage everyone to avoid nonessential travel.”

Roussin said anyone who has returned and is isolating is also asked to get tested again seven and 10 days after they return, even if they don’t show symptoms. Testing requirements don’t negate the need to self-isolate for 14 days.

WATCH | Roussin urges Manitobans to avoid non-essential travel amid rising variant cases:

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, asked Manitobans on Monday not to travel unless it’s essential, and urged those who must travel to follow all public health rules upon return. 2:14

Manitoba is somewhat of an anomaly, as many other province’s don’t have a mandatory two-week isolation period for those entering from other provinces.

Those requirements came into effect in January amid growing concerns of highly contagious coronavirus variants.

Exceptions to the isolation rule include essential workers who left for an essential purpose, people who live in border communities and those with cottages or secondary residences in border provinces.

Roussin says though essential workers don’t have to isolate when they travel for work, they still must do so if they leave for leisure or non-essential purposes that don’t fit within the exemption guidelines.

All those returning from international travel must also isolate and get tested when they return.

Roussin says it’s too soon to say what impact holiday gatherings might have had on Manitoba’s COVID-19 caseload. Signs of transmission during gatherings may begin to surface in the next two weeks.

WATCH | Too early to tell impact of long weekend on Manitoba COVID-19 cases:

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, said Tuesday it’s too soon to say if the long weekend will result in a spike in COVID-19 cases — but if there were many gatherings, there’s likely to be increased transmission. 0:55

WATCH | Full news conference on COVID-19 | April 6, 2021:

Provincial officials give update on COVID-19 outbreak: Tuesday, April 6, 2021. 29:38