‘We are facing a third wave’: Manitoba’s top doctor warns more restrictions could be implemented if COVID-19 situation doesn’t change

WINNIPEG — Manitobans are being told to stay home and practise the fundamentals as a third wave of COVID-19 continues to develop in the province.

As the daily COVID case count once again hits triple digits and variants of concerns become more common, the province’s top doctor warns more restrictions could be coming.

“Right now we are facing a third wave. And so we really have to double down to stop this transmission right now, so we don’t have to revert to some of the tightest restrictions we have had in the past,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer. “The way the numbers are looking, the way the variants are being transmitted in other jurisdictions, we really are moving towards that very need.”

Roussin said health officials are looking at possible changes right now and expects more will come later this week.

He added the problem with the third wave so far is people are starting to get back to their old ways.

“What we have seen in our contact tracing is just increasing number of contacts of cases, increasing issues with gatherings especially in private residences, increasing issues of returned travellers who haven’t isolated as per the order now resulting in many other households as contacts.”

Roussin said if things don’t change, Manitobans could see limits on household gatherings again or even outdoor mask mandates.

“If we don’t act now, we will be back in stricter restrictions very soon.”

He noted Manitobans can’t put another strain on the health-care system during the third wave.

On Monday, the province added 114 new cases and the five-day test positivity rate is 6.2 per cent in Manitoba.

There have been 412 cases of variants of concern; 101 cases are active and there has been one death linked to a variant.

The B.1.1.7 variant, originally found in the United Kingdom, has been the most common one found in Manitoba, with 364 cases as of Monday.

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