Manitoba health officials give coronavirus update

Health officials in Manitoba will give an update on the province’s ongoing efforts against COVID-19 Friday.

Dr. Jazz Atwal, acting deputy chief provincial public health officer, has scheduled a 12:30 p.m. press conference. Global News will stream the event live in this story.

Read more: Manitoba reports 5 new coronavirus deaths, 198 new cases

The media availability comes hours before strict, province-wide public health orders aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 are set to expire.

The orders, which have put tight restrictions on non-essential store openings and social gatherings, have been in place since mid-November.

Coronavirus: Manitoba loosens some health restrictions as province ‘bent the COVID curve’

On Thursday, as 198 new cases and five new deaths were reported, the province said it will ease some of the restrictions in southern and central areas as case numbers continue to slowly drop.

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Starting Saturday, non-essential retail stores will be allowed to reopen at 25 per cent capacity. Since November, they have been limited to delivery or curbside pickup service.

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Hair salons, barbershops and some personal health services such as reflexology can restart as well.

Click to play video 'Manitoba considers allowing all stores to reopen amid ‘modest’ changes to coronavirus restrictions' Manitoba considers allowing all stores to reopen amid ‘modest’ changes to coronavirus restrictions
Manitoba considers allowing all stores to reopen amid ‘modest’ changes to coronavirus restrictions

A ban on social visits inside private homes is also being eased. Households will be allowed to designate two people who will be allowed to visit indoors. Up to five people can visit outdoors.

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The changes, which will last at least three weeks, are not being made in the northern health region, where outbreaks in isolated communities have caused a spike in case numbers in recent weeks.

Read more: More store openings, expanded household visits coming under new Manitoba COVID-19 orders

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Since March, 793 Manitobans have died from COVID-19 and the province has reported 28,089 cases of the virus.

–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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For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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