Seven new presumptive cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Manitoba where the government is moving to close daycares and preschools.
The majority of the cases involve people in Winnipeg: a woman in her 60s, two women in their 50s, a woman in her 40s and a man in his 30s.
Two are in the Southern Health Sante-Sud Health region – a man and a woman, both in their 60s.
The province says in a release that a review by public health investigators will look into the travel histories of those affected.
The new cases bring the total in the province to 15. Eight have been confirmed by the national lab in Winnipeg.
Premier Brian Pallister announced earlier Tuesday that licensed daycares and preschools in Manitoba are to close by the end of the day Friday.
“Manitobans can beat this issue if we just keep working together,” Pallister said.
Officials are working to ensure that front-line workers will have child-care support, he added. Home daycares can remain open because they already have a limit of eight children per home.
The province announced last week that schools are to close Monday for three weeks.
Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, said there have been no cases of the novel coronavirus in schools or daycares. He also said there is no evidence of community transmission in the province.
The latest moves will help lessen the impact of COVID-19 nonetheless, he added.
“We know that based on the experience of other jurisdictions the risk is expected to increase in Manitoba and we are taking these moves in an abundance of caution.”
Roussin also recommended an immediate end to visits at long-term care facilities and nursing homes and called for the cancellation of gatherings over 50 people.
All six casinos in Manitoba were to close Wednesday.
“We need to keep focusing on our social-distancing efforts now if we want to reduce the impact of this virus in Manitoba,” Roussin said.
The province has launched an online screening tool to try to ease pressure on its health-link phone-in line and is opening more dedicated testing sights.
The provincial lab has tested more than 2,200 samples for the coronavirus, an average of 400 each day, and Roussin said capacity is strained. He reminded people that they do not need to be tested if they do not have symptoms.