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Manitoba premier, top doctor to discuss COVID-19 health orders

Manitoba’s premier and the province’s chief public health officer will discuss COVID-19 public health orders Thursday.

Brian Pallister and Dr. Brent Roussin have scheduled a press conference for 12:30 p.m. Global News will stream the event live in this story.

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An invite to media said Pallister and Roussin’s topic will be “COVID-19 public health orders” but didn’t elaborate on what the pair plan to discuss or announce.

Manitoba’s health-care system has been pushed to the limits as the province has reported hundreds of new COVID-19 cases per day for weeks.

Click to play video: More ICU patients being moved out of province

The province started transporting critically ill COVID-19 patients to Ontario last week in order to keep ICU beds open. At least 23 patients have been sent to Ontario since May 18.

Public health orders tightened for the May long weekend that had been set to expire Wednesday have since been extended to Saturday.

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They include a ban on gatherings, indoors or out, except among members of the same household, although there is a small exemption for people who live alone.

Those temporary orders come on top of a ban on indoor public gatherings and a 10-per cent limit on capacity at stores that have been in place for three weeks. Restaurants have been restricted to takeout and delivery, while gyms and hair salons have had to close.

Click to play video: Answering your COVID-19 questions, May 27

Schools in Winnipeg, Brandon and some other areas have moved to remote learning.

The online learning period at some schools is to expire next week, and as of yet, the province hasn’t said if the order will be extended.

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Earlier this week half a dozen doctors called on the Progressive Conservative government to close non-essential businesses and enact a stay-at-home order. The surge of COVID-19 patients and the need to reassign health-care workers have resulted in cancelled surgeries and backlogs in other areas of medical care, they said.

Health officials said more ICU patients were scheduled to head to Ontario Wednesday, as Manitoba reported 312 new COVID-19 cases and one additional death.

—With files from The Canadian Press

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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.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, visit our coronavirus page.

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