A health-care worker in Prairie Mountain Health has tested positive for COVID-19, health officials said Friday.
Shared Health’s chief nursing officer, Lanette Siragusa, did not provide further information on what kind of health facility the worker is employed in, except to say the case is not related to the cluster identified in a Brandon truck maintenance shop.
The worker is one of 452 health-care providers and first responders tested for COVID-19 in the last seven days, bringing the total number of workers who have tested positive so far to 26, Siragusa said during Friday’s health briefing. All but one have since recovered.
Since April 10, 3,584 health-care workers and first responders have been tested.
No new cases of COVID-19 were reported as of Friday morning, the fourth day in a row that has seen no new cases.
There have been 26 confirmed cases in Prairie Mountain Health since the pandemic began.
Meanwhile, there may be hope on the horizon that people can return to gathering in groups of more than 10.
"We definitely said that mid-May we’re going to look at our numbers and really consider that, and that’s what we’re doing right now," said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer.
"Certainly, if things continue the way they are, then come in with Phase 2 June 1, then we’ll certainly be increasing that group size," he said, adding they have been looking into the possibility of allowing larger group sizes before June.
"We’re looking at that. The issue right now is that we’re sort of mid-May; we’re just sort of one incubation period away into our reopening strategy, so it’s too early to put too much weight on these low numbers," Roussin said. "In the next week or so, we’re going to get a better idea on if there is any effect on our reopening strategy and then we’ll continue to look at it."
As families head out to campgrounds and cottages for the long weekend, Roussin reminded people to continue to follow public health rules regarding group sizes and to follow safe distancing practices.
Above all, he said, don’t go anywhere if you are feeling ill.
Manitobans were reminded Friday that travel isn’t permitted from southern Manitoba to areas, including campgrounds, north of the 53rd parallel, which is essentially anywhere north of the northern end of Lake Winnipeg.
Asked why northern residents can travel south then return to their home communities — potentially carrying the virus back home with them — Roussin said, "We wanted to do what we could to limit non-essential travel up to the north. We wanted to reduce the chances of that (importing the virus), but then we also didn’t want to, you know, limit the ability of people to return home."
He added the province is still urging people in the north to stay near their home communities as much as possible.
"But we didn’t want to be in a situation where there are people who are living in the north who found themselves in Winnipeg or somewhere in the south that now could not be ... allowed to get back to their home."
Three Manitobans are currently hospitalized, with one person in intensive care.
The numbers continue to look positive, however, as there are 28 active cases in Manitoba, while 254 people have recovered from COVID-19.