What is leading to Manitoba’s spike in COVID-19 cases

WINNIPEG — Manitobans know how to stop the spread of the virus, but many of them are just not following the rules – that is the message Manitoba’s top doctor wants people to hear.

On Monday, Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, gave a report on the ballooning number of COVID-19 cases and death in Manitoba.

In the last week alone, Roussin said 14 people have died and more than 830 cases were identified. At this rate, Manitobans can expect to see more than 5,000 cases by the end of this week.

He said health officials know what is behind the spiking cases.

“We are seeing people who are socializing with many different contacts and many different large groups.”

“We all know those fundamentals – They sound easy to follow, we know they are challenging and we know they are not being followed by many.”

Roussin said there are many examples that show Manitobans are not following the rules:

Many cases have been linked to Thanksgiving.

Many are linked to people attending funerals, which has led to many close contacts.

One person contracted COVID-19 at a large faith-based gathering and later visited a personal care home, which led to an outbreak.

People going to work and gatherings while experiencing symptoms, with one person going to work for an entire week while symptomatic before being tested.

People who, even though they had been tested for COVID-19, did not self-isolate and instead held a gathering at their homes.

One person left work because they were sick but then went shopping – exposing many people at many different locations.

People have attended medical procedures without disclosing they have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 – leading to an entire surgical team at home for two weeks because of this non-disclosure.

“Everyone can think about this – if public health contacted you would you be able to tell them who all your contacts were in the last week, or even over the weekend?” Roussin said.

“If that would be difficult for you, it probably means you’ve had way too many contacts over that period of time.”

Roussin said the high number of close contacts makes it difficult for public health to do proper contact tracing.

He said since the first wave hit the province, Manitobans have ‘let the virus off the hook.’

“We are in a pandemic, we have to expect to see cases – we can’t avoid that,” Roussin said.

“What we shouldn’t expect and we shouldn’t accept are people who have 50 contacts or people going to work when they are ill, or people not being forthcoming with health care providers. This is what leads to numbers we are looking at right now.”

He said Manitobans must change how they are acting, and reduce the number of contacts they have outside the household.

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