WINNIPEG - Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin says, given high case counts in many First Nations and in the North, modest changes to the public health orders being considered to replace those that expire on Friday would likely only apply to Winnipeg, Southern, Interlake, Eastern, and Prairie Mountain Health regions. First Nations leaders are warning that gradually lifting restrictions in response to COVID-19 could spell disaster on reserves that don’t yet have outbreaks under control.
In a meeting hosted by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Dr. Marcia Anderson, medical officer for the First Nations COVID-19 Pandemic Response Coordination Team, predicted that as public health restrictions get lifted, no matter how lightly, numbers will go up.
The province is considering loosening COVID-19 restrictions on Saturday morning, following months of lockdowns that finally drove case counts down in most of Manitoba. The government specified that the north will not get loosened of restrictions, but Dr. Anderson suggests that people shouldn’t be allowed to travel to cities with looser restrictions, as doing so would risk further spread when they return home.
Premier Brian Pallister says, although numbers across most of the province suggest reason for optimism, the approach to safely restoring services and activities will be cautious.