Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin says that churches are welcome to hold outdoor gatherings with groups of under 50 people, or indoor gathering with groups under 25 come Friday.

Roussin is looking at a number of factors when making recommendations to change COVID-19 related public health orders in Manitoba.

Today, health officials say there are no newly identified cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba. There are currently 18 active cases of the illness and one person is in the hospital due to the illness.

To date, 36,402 COVID-19 laboratory tests have been completed in Manitoba.

Roussin says that based on the low number of COVID-19 cases in the province, health officials are comfortable making these recommendations. 

"This is not a return to normal. We are still dealing with this virus in Manitoba," Roussin says.

Despite the loosening of restrictions, Roussin is emphasizing the importance of staying home when ill, including colds. Those with respiratory illnesses are being asked to be vigilant in practicing distancing and continue to follow hygiene recommendations, including frequent handwashing. 

"It is important as we move forward to find those cases early."

Roussin says they are being a "bit more broad but restrictive" in the openings across the province.

Public health officials will be monitoring trends and the number of cases as they continue to reevaluate the COVID-19 situation in Manitoba.

Lanete Siragusa from Shared Health says they are scheduling patients for clinical activities based on priority. Patients are being contacted regarding appointments, but Siragusa warns plans could change.

"We have learned a lot in the first ramp down in activities," she says.

During the early stages of the province's response to the pandemic, Siragusa says there was a large dip in appointments but the province is now slowly allowing more medical activities to occur.

"We are confident in our ability to resume services now," Siragusa says.

Siragusa says facilities will be keeping the health and safety of medical professionals in mind as they begin to treat more patients.

"This virus is not gone, it is still here. Manitobans will have to deal with this moving forward and we need to learn how to deal with this virus," Roussin says. "We are certainly not done with this virus."