Manitoba removes COVID-19 isolation requirements

By The Canadian Press

Manitoba is getting rid of a public health order that requires people who test positive with COVID-19 to self-isolate.

The Progressive Conservative government announced Wednesday that starting March 15 it will only be a recommendation for people who have the virus to isolate. The province will also stop investigating positive cases.

Those who test positive will still be notified, but the province will no longer trace where they may have caught or transmitted the virus.

Dr. Jazz Atwal, the deputy chief public health officer, said Manitoba is at a point where COVID-19 will still affect hospitalizations and generate cases, but severe outcomes are diminished.

“We’re moving to a more endemic stage. We never had an order or law in place in relation to any other infection, per se, prior to this,” Atwal said.

“We need to learn to live with and understand (COVID-19) is a part of our lives. It is going to continue to be a part of our lives.”

Atwal added people should be staying home if they are sick regardless if they have contracted COVID-19.

There were 464 people in Manitoba hospitals Wednesday due to COVID-19, including 30 in intensive care.

The province removed vaccine mandates Tuesday and mask mandates are to be removed on March 15.

Elsewhere in the country, Saskatchewan also lifted the self-isolation requirement this week.

Atwal said there will likely be an increase in cases as restrictions are lifted but he doesn’t expect it will amount to a new wave.

“There will be an increase in transmission depending on how people will interact, but it shouldn’t cause significant impacts on the acute care system,” Atwal said.

Manitoba is also distributing rapid antigen tests to various locations starting this week.

There will be 18,000 tests going to public libraries in the province and four million to pharmacies and grocery store retailers.

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