Manitoba’s top doctor and the province’s education minister have called a snap press conference Wednesday afternoon after a Winnipeg school announced it is switching some of its students to remote learning after the discovery of more COVID-19 cases.
Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen will be joined by Manitoba’s chief public officer of health, Dr. Brent Roussin at the 1 p.m. press conference.
Global News will stream the media briefing live in this story.
An email to media inviting reporters to the press conference came just over an hour before it was scheduled to start. Normally Roussin holds two live briefings a week, usually on Monday and Thursday afternoons.
The invitation to media calls the event a “COVID-19 update” and didn’t elaborate on what would be discussed.
The press conference comes as five people at John Pritchard School in Winnipeg have now tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and students in Grades 6, 7 and 8, as well as a split Grade 4 and 5 class at the school will move entirely to remote learning for an estimated two weeks.
School officials sent a letter telling parents about the changes Tuesday night noting they would start immediately.
A spokesperson for the River East Transcona school division says public health investigations are ongoing, and all other students are continuing with in-class learning.
Manitoba students returned to class last week and schools were aiming to have full-time in-class learning for children up to Grade 8.
Since then the province has warned about possible COVID-19 exposures at several other schools in Winnipeg and Brandon.
Possible exposures have been reported at Churchill High School, Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute, Beaverlodge School, St. Aiden’s Christian School, and John Pritchard School in Winnipeg, as well as Ecole New Era School in Brandon.
The province reported 17 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, for a total active case count of 269.
–With files from The Canadian Press
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.
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