Manitoba moving back to Code Orange for first time in seven months

WINNIPEG — For the first time since mid-November, Manitoba will not be in Code Red on the pandemic response system.

Dr. Jazz Atwal, the deputy chief provincial public health officer, announced that when the new round of restrictions takes effect on Saturday, the province will also switch to Code Orange or the restricted level.

“Manitobans need to continue to follow the fundamentals, including indoor mask use and physical distancing,” said Atwal.

Atwal said officials looked at several factors including new cases and new hospitalizations.

“Our case counts are dropping. Today’s case numbers were roughly 84, our trailing seven-day average is 97. That’s a 45 per cent decline on a trailing average from cases from this week to last week,” said Atwal.

“We looked at net-new admissions to hospitals, net-new admissions to ICU as well. So that is all taken into account. Our hospitalization numbers continue to decrease, our ICU numbers continue to decrease, the net hospitalization of new admissions on a daily basis is decreasing as well.”

Atwal did acknowledge that there are still 12 Manitobans out of province for ICU care, but noted the province hasn’t sent any new patients out recently.

Even though the new restrictions are taking effect and Code Orange is coming into play, Atwal said this doesn’t mean Manitobans should try to skirt the rules and they must still be responsible.

“This doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all. We still have concerns, we still have issues and people still need to do what we are asking them to do.

“This is a gradual process here. We want people to partake in some of the things that are important to them.”

He added that even though we can now socialize with people more, he still encourages people to limit their contacts and continue to be vigilant.

Atwal said the move to orange is a signal to Manitobans that things are slowly getting better, but he noted that case counts need to continue to come down and people need to continue to get vaccinated.

The province has been in Code Red since November 12, 2020.

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