WINNIPEG - Hundreds of music students in Winnipeg got devastating news about a week ago: the province ordered their classes to stop singing, and stop tooting their horns. The new rules, intended to reduce group activities that tend to expel saliva, and risk transmitting COVID-19, impact students across the city’s seven school divisions, including nearly 200 choir students in the St. James--Assiniboia School Division alone. From the start of the pandemic, public health guidelines considered singing a high-risk activity for virus transmission.
But other high-risk activity widely accepted as verboten during a pandemic continues to happen. In a letter to parents whose kids attend Maples Collegiate, the school says a student who was at a party tested positive for COVID-19. Administrators are asking that anyone who was at that party self-isolate and get tested right away.
This isn’t the first time a party has been the centre of a coronavirus case. Past reports suggest on multiple occasions people who knew they were infected, were waiting for test results, or had clear symptoms, decided to host or attend parties, or go to work for a whole week, anyway. Cases like these have Premier Brian Pallister using some blunt words. "Those dumb things, they're endangering all of us," he said. "Grow up, and stop going out there."
Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin says more needs to be done to minimize the spread of the virus. He says, while the province is releasing guidelines for trick-or-treating, Manitobans need to limit their close contacts and not be planning group events like Halloween parties, calling them against the law. Both public and private, indoor and outdoor gatherings are currently limited to five people in the Winnipeg health region.