In a news conference on Nov. 2, Premier Brian Pallister, acknowledging the gravity of the surge of cases, said Manitobans have it within their power to flatten the curve by returning to fundamental safe practices and reducing contacts by 75 per cent.
“We need to get back to green,” he said of COVID-19 response code.Enforcement of COVID-19 protocols will be stepped up. The Premier pointed to large gatherings and party-goers for irresponsible spread of COVID, as the number of young people testing positive continue to rise.
Pallister is asking Manitobans if they want to see a curfew imposed for late night hours, as his government is considering taking that action. “I also want Manitobans’ perspectives on another matter. We are giving serious consideration to imposing a curfew …that would be designed to restrict travel within key hours when gathering sizes tend to be dangerously in excess of the rules. Late night hours.” He said there will be an opportunity to weigh-in on this piece of enforcement at the Engage Manitoba web page: https://engagemb.ca/. (However, as of Monday there is no survey available yet.)
Pallister was asked why contract tracing wasn’t ramped up sooner. The province is expecting help from the Federal Government from Stats Canada staff. Manitoba is also enlisting help from the Red Cross.
He admitted there is a need for rapid testing, particularly for frontline health workers, to keep as many working as possible and that rapid testing would also improve contact tracing.
The province is increasing COVID testing to improve contact tracing. Three large sites have already increased testing by 40 per cent. Within a few weeks Manitoba will have 30 testing sites and an ability to test 4,250 people per day.
Pallister was asked why there isn’t more information about positive cases within communities, and he said, “I do think we should be sharing more,” but said he was supporting the health team leaders’ decisions on this matter.
Answering why Westman in the Prairie Mountain Health region was being penalized and put into the Orange response level when the number of cases here are among the lowest in the province, the premier said, “All of us are paying the price for the few people who don’t do the right thing.” He also added that by a provincewide Orange response it takes away the possibility of people simply travelling to a less restrictive area for activities and dodging COVID-19 restrictions where they live.
He acknowledged that some people had spoken to him saying the new restrictions are “too much”, but that he had also heard from people who said the government wasn’t doing enough.