Manitoba's Chief Public Health Officer is putting in stricter health restrictions for the long weekend.
The added health orders are temporary. Currently, the Public Health Orders are set to expire in 10 days on May 30.
New health orders
Open businesses will be limiting customers, on top of the 10 per cent capacity, to one household member at a time. Single parents and caregivers of the shopper are the exceptions.
Outdoor gatherings, including at parks, golf course, and playgrounds, are not allowed. Households can continue to attend the outdoor space as a single household, but not with others. This includes campgrounds. The only exception is single-person households with their designated person.
Dr. Brent Roussin is asking Manitobans to stay home as much as possible, saying despite strict Public Health Orders, cases continue to rise.
"We all can see the results of not adhering to the orders," Roussin says. "Please stay home."
To avoid spreading the virus, Roussin says there should be no contact with people outside of their household.
This takes effect Saturday, ending in six days at midnight Wednesday.
Roussin is set to reevaluate the health orders next week as the current orders expire. The current Public Health Orders continue to be in effect, expiring on May 30.
The doctor says the obvious hospital strain is due to gatherings such as potlucks spreading the virus.
Health and Seniors Care Minister Heather Stefanson says that space is being increased, but this week's surge came before new intensive care staff was trained in time. The Minister says the plan to increase space was put in place months ago. Thursday saw a record-breaking 602 COVID-19 cases in Manitoba, and ICU space in hospitals has run out as two Manitobans are being treated in Ontario's Thunder Bay.
The Health Minister says there is capacity for those in need of hospital care.
"If you need to seek medical care please do so," Stefanson says. "The patient flow in our hospital system is very key in all of this, but I will say to Manitobans please if you need to access healthcare facilities please do so."
She says one of the ways the province is increasing bed space is by moving those in need of care and able to receive it at home out of the hospital. She says this has affected over 300 patients.
Cases are increasing, with many more Manitobans expected to arrive in hospital in recent weeks. Stefanson says "nothing is off the table" when responding to the possibility of field hospitals.
Stressing the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine, Stefanson says it is "absolutely critical." She says around 78 per cent of all COVID-19 hospital patients do not have the COVID-19 vaccine. More than half of all adults in Manitoba have received their first dose.
Stefanson is asking Manitobans to follow the health orders to keep hospitalizations down.
On Thursday morning, Premier Brian Pallister told Manitobans that further restrictions would be announced by Dr. Brent Roussin. Later that afternoon, it was announced that Manitoba broke a record with 602 new cases, the highest single-day count to date.
This is a developing story.