Health officials in Manitoba will give a live update on the province’s ongoing fight against COVID-19 Friday.
Dr. Jazz Atwal, deputy chief provincial public health officer and Dr. Joss Reimer, head of the province’s vaccine implementation task force, have scheduled a press conference for 12:30 p.m.
Global News will stream the event live here.
On Thursday, the Manitoba government said it is looking at easing many of its COVID-19 restrictions.
A set of proposed changes includes doubling capacity limits in stores and restaurants, as well as for personal services, to 50 per cent. Seating at restaurant tables would still be limited to members of the same household.
Indoor religious services could operate at 25 per cent capacity instead of the current 10 per cent.
Indoor arcades and outdoor amusement parks could reopen with capacity limits. The few facilities that would have to remain closed include theatres, concert halls and casinos.
The cap on outdoor gatherings would rise to 10 people from five. And instead of households being permitted to designate only two people as visitors, the province could allow two-household bubbles so entire families could get together.
The proposed changes could take effect as early as March 5 and are subject to public feedback before any final decisions are made, he said. Changes could also be phased in.
Health officials reported 70 new COVID-19 cases and one death Thursday. Three cases from unspecified dates were removed due to data correction for a net increase of 67.
The province’s case count has dropped sharply since a severe spike in the fall when Manitoba led all the provinces in the per-capita rate of new infections. The strain on intensive care units has eased and the test positivity rate has dropped from 13 per cent to 4.3.
The proposed changes could also mean big shifts for sports enthusiasts and players of video lottery terminals. VLTs would be allowed to operate again as long as they were two metres apart or separated by physical barriers.
Indoor gyms and fitness facilities could offer group classes again, although with a 25 per cent capacity limit.
The province is asking Manitobans to weigh in on the proposed changes through an online survey.
–With files from The Canadian PressView link »
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.
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