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Manitoba public health officials confirmed Friday that exposure to COVID-19 may have occurred at Asian Spices of Brandon from a case that was identified Thursday.
When contacted Thursday by The Brandon Sun, a spokesperson for the province would not confirm that any cases occurred at the store on 10th Street.
"Public Health is not able to identify any individuals, as that could result in the release of personal health information," the spokesperson wrote in an email to the Sun Thursday. "It is a long-standing practice that public health does not identify individuals for this reason. In areas with small populations and a small number of cases, there is a greater opportunity for the identification of an individual who tested positive for COVID-19.
"If a public health risk is assessed and it is deemed necessary to protect the health of others, information is released."
The front door of Asian Spices of Brandon was locked Thursday when the Sun stopped by after learning of the possible COVID-19 case; however, there were no signs indicating why.
In a news release Friday, health officials said people who were in the Brandon spice store July 22 and July 23 may have been exposed to COVID-19.
Public health officials also confirmed Friday that potential exposure to the virus may have occurred at Blazers Mini Mart in Minnedosa on July 25.
The Minnedosa case is one of six that health officials identified Friday.
The Sun reported on Friday that the store on Main Street was closed due to potential exposure to COVID-19.
A Thursday post on the "What’s Happening, Minnedosa!!!" Facebook group site said one of the owners of Blazers Mini Mart tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday and had worked the morning shift on July 25.
The province has previously identified cases in which people may have been exposed to COVID-19, including:
• a person exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 who attended the Safeway/Starbucks 18th Street location in Brandon July 11. The same person visited several locations in Winnipeg, including the Dollarama, Walmart and Smitty’s locations in the 1500 block of Regent Avenue on July 8 and the Tim Hortons location at 3965 Portage Ave. July 10.
• an infected person who visited the Dakota Tipi Gaming Centre near Portage la Prairie while symptomatic on July 17, 18 and 19;
• and a possible exposure to the virus at the Sherwood Grocery Store in Gull Lake July 20 and 21.
In an email to the Sun Friday, the same provincial spokesperson wrote: "Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living has provided the age, gender and health region of the cases. While the risk is low, details of a possible exposure were made available in the bulletin today.
"Case investigations are ongoing and take time to confirm and complete. When they are completed and information of a risk to the public is made known, more details are made available to the public.
"Over the course of the pandemic, stigma has played too strong a role in shaming positive COVID-19 cases," the spokesperson wrote. "This is unacceptable and public health is doing everything possible to reduce stigma. Individuals did not ask to get COVID-19 and unless there is a risk to the public, more details will not be shared."
The province stopped identifying cases involving Hutterite colonies following a complaint from a community leader.
Meanwhile, health officials said Friday two of the new cases occurred in the Prairie Mountain Health region. Both are men in their 30s.
Six people in Manitoba are currently in hospital being treated for the virus, five of them in intensive care.
There 70 active cases and 337 individuals have recovered from COVID-19.
An additional 1,073 laboratory tests were completed on Thursday, bringing the total number of tests completed since early February to 88,621.
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