Manitoba’s top doctor, health minister to announce new public health measures this afternoon

WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s top doctor is set to announce additional health restrictions Thursday afternoon.

Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, along with Health and Seniors Care Minister Heather Stefanson, will be announcing the new health orders at 4 p.m. CTV News Winnipeg will live stream this event.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said the restrictions will be in place for the May long weekend.

“Case counts spiked after Thanksgiving. Case counts spiked after Easter and spring break. We can’t have the same thing happen after (the) May long weekend too,” said Pallister.

The news comes as ICUs continue to be strained. CTV News confirmed on Wednesday that three patients were transferred to Thunder Bay, Ont., to help alleviate hospitals.

On Thursday, the province said in its daily COVID-19 bulletin that there are 76 people in ICU with COVID-19.

Pallister said the new measures that will be announced are important and are a step to give Manitobans their freedoms back.

“What these health orders do is give us back our lives. So I would say there are some measures that Dr. Roussin is ironing out the details and he’ll be sharing with Manitobans in the not-too-distant future.”

Pallister said before the pandemic, the province took steps to strengthen ICU capacity.

“Those measures have continued to be taken, obviously accelerated, as a consequence of the pandemic,” he said.

He thanked Northwest Ontario for the help and he noted asking for additional help from other provinces is not off the table.

“This is how the Canadian Federation works, this is how family works. We offer assistance when it’s needed, as recently as a month ago, we offered some small assistance to Ontario in their time of need in terms of additional supplies, ventilators, PPE, invited retired nurses to consider the possibility of going and helping and reciprocal supports in a time of need for Manitoba are appreciated and that’s how Canada operates.”

The premier is urging people to follow the health orders and also get vaccinated when they can.

“COVID is evil. It robs your breath. It robs your strength. It robs your freedoms. It can take your life. There are real consequences to getting COVID, and I don’t want those consequences to happen to you.”

The premier also said that the province will be announcing a vaccine incentive program next week.

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