New restrictions, more testing,
and better masks to fight Omicron
With COVID-19 case numbers breaking record levels in Canada and around the world, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin updated public health orders on December 28. Gathering sizes have been reduced and the sale of liquor has been limited to help curb community transmission and, hopefully, ease the strain on the health-care system as the Omicron variant continues to circulate in Manitoba.
The additional restrictions mean gatherings must not exceed 50 per cent of the usual capacity of the space, or 250 people, whichever is less. This includes:
- indoor and outdoor public gatherings;
- restaurants, licensed premises, food courts and socials;
- movie theatres and concert halls;
- performing arts venues and outdoor ticketed performing arts events;
- museums and art galleries;
- outdoor and indoor sporting and recreational facilities, including dance schools and martial arts studios;
- gyms, fitness centres and yoga studios;
- indoor and outdoor ticketed sporting events;
- indoor recreational businesses;
- seasonal facilities and events;
- religious services and Indigenous cultural events; and
- bingos, casinos and businesses with VLTs.
In addition, liquor sales in restaurants and licensed premises must end at 10:00 p.m. daily. The changes are in effect until January 11, 2022.
Self-administered rapid tests are now available for Manitobans at provincial testing sites to manage current and growing demand for COVID-19 testing.
When an individual visits a testing site, the type of test they receive will now be based on their vaccination status. If they are symptomatic and vaccinated, they will receive a take-home, self-administered rapid test. If they are symptomatic and unvaccinated, they will receive a PCR test. If they are asymptomatic, high-risk, and unvaccinated, they may receive a PCR test and a take-home, self-administered rapid test, and they may be referred for monoclonal antibody treatment.
Only those who test positive on a rapid test will get a follow-up PCR test to confirm the result.
Those who test positive on a follow-up PCR test, will be contacted by a public health official who will provide information about isolation and also help determine if the individual meets the criteria for monoclonal antibodies treatment.
Manitobans who are seeking a COVID-19 test for out-of-province travel purposes should not attend provincial testing sites. Rather, they should seek out a private provider.
The Manitoba government has partnered with Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries (MBLL) to make KN95 masks available at liquor marts and casinos.
Wearing a mask has been shown to be very effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and KN95 masks have been shown to be more effective than cloth or procedure masks as they fit better and provide a high level of filtration.
Manitobans can ask for and receive a box of masks at no cost from any Manitoba Liquor Mart in Winnipeg or one of the MBLL-operated casinos, liquor marts and liquor vendors across Manitoba.
Source: Manitoba Government