With so many regions going weeks without any significant COVID-19 activity, many are wondering why restrictions everywhere are still following the critical, or red, level protocols of the #RestartMB Pandemic Response System instead of orange or even yellow.

Southern Health has not had more than ten COVID-19 cases in one day since February 13, and similar is true for the Interlake-Eastern and Prairie Mountain Health regions.

That question was asked of Deputy Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Jazz Atwal this afternoon.

While case counts are trending downward in many locations, Atwal says there are other factors to consider.

“We still have risk here,” he states. “Some of our indicators are still in the red.”

Atwal says hospitalization numbers are still up, ICU numbers are still elevated, and the test-positivity rate is still higher than officials would like.

“It’s a very important point we are in with COVID-19 in Manitoba. We continue to want to open up, but we still have to ensure that we are doing the things we can to help mitigate the risk of propagating COVID-19.”

According to Atwal, the rising number of variants of concern in Manitoba also has the government hesitant to change their blanket designation. He adds the colour-coded system is being reviewed on a regular basis and changes will be made as they are deemed appropriate.

Until then, health regions will continue to operate as a whole, as has been the case since November.