Two more deaths liked to outbreak of COVID-19 at Manitoba care home

WINNIPEG — Two more residents of a personal care home in Manitoba have died from COVID-19, and the province's top doctor says some front-line workers are feeling fatigued by months of strict protocols.

"This comes as a real reminder that we have to stay on guard," chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said Thursday.

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The two residents, a woman in her 80s and another woman in her 90s, lived at Bethesda Place personal care home in Steinbach, about 60 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg, where there has been an outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

Two other residents of the care home died last month from the illness.

Seven workers and two additional residents have also tested positive.

Roussin said the initial positive case appears to have been a health-care worker who caught the virus in the community. The worker was asymptomatic and it doesn't appear there was an issue with personal protective equipment, he added.

However, Roussin said many people working on the front line have been struggling with tight restrictions over long shifts.

"I think that over time, just like many other Manitobans, we can lose track of some of the fundamentals and some of the importance of the strictness of our rules."

There are a handful of outbreaks at other personal care homes in the province, including two in Winnipeg that were announced Wednesday.

Twenty new cases of COVID-19 in the province were reported Thursday, for a total of 1,264. There have been 16 deaths.

Manitoba spent many months with some of the lowest levels of COVID-19 cases in the country but has seen a significant increase in infections over the last month. Travel restrictions to northern Manitoba are to be put back in place Friday.

With a long weekend ahead and students heading back to class next week, Roussin said people must ensure they continue to take precautions.

"We have to be alert at all times."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 3, 2020

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