Manitoba health official will give today’s COVID-19 update

Manitoba’s deputy chief provincial public health officer is set to give the latest details on COVID-19 in the province at a news conference on Friday.

CBC News will live stream the update with Dr. Jazz Atwal here and on Facebook, Twitter and Gem at 12:30 p.m.

Atwal’s announcement comes hours before Manitoba’s newest public health orders take effect on Saturday.

Those rules will allow outdoor gatherings of up to five people — though if the gathering is on private property, no more than three households (including the host) can be involved.

All other restrictions will stay in place, which means indoor private gatherings still won’t be allowed.

The latest restrictions will be in effect until June 26.

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer, calls those changes minimal because the province’s hospitals are still strained. On Thursday, there were still 30 Manitobans receiving critical care out of province as the province works to free up space in its overwhelmed intensive care units.

Despite that, the province has seen a slight decrease in daily case counts lately. And while hospitals are still under pressure, the slow drop in cases provides “some light at the end of the tunnel” for the health-care system, Lanette Siragusa, Manitoba shared health chief nursing Officer,  said this week.

On Thursday, Manitoba unveiled the first look at its reopening plan, which will hinge largely on vaccination rates. That strategy involves three targets tied to holidays, with the first set for Canada Day.

If by then more than 70 per cent of Manitobans 12 and older have received their first vaccine dose (and more than 25 per cent their second), the province plans to ease some capacity limits, officials said.

However, some infectious disease experts say the plan lacks key details — especially with the recent surge of cases of a more contagious coronavirus variant that vaccines appear to be less effective against.

The province also announced a lottery earlier this week as an incentive for people to get vaccinated. Adults who get immunized against COVID-19 will be entered to win $100,000, while those 12 to 17 could get a $25,000 scholarship if they get vaccinated.

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