Manitoba's top doctor says with COVID-19 case counts climbing in the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region, tighter restrictions are necessary.

On September 28th, the province elevated the Pandemic Response System to Orange for that region, which includes the town of Niverville and rural municipalities of Ritchot and Tache. Under Orange, masks are mandatory in all indoor public places, while gatherings are restricted to ten people, both indoors and outdoors. These restrictions are in place for a minimum of four weeks.

On October 7th, additional restrictions went into effect for the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region. This Public Health Order is for licensed premises. Some of the restrictions include no sale of liquor between 10 pm and 9 am, the closure of these premises for dine-in service between 11 pm and 6 am, seating capacity at a table to not exceed ten people and no dancing.

But, even with these restrictions, COVID-19 case counts continue to rise. In fact, the highest single day total was announced today with 173 new cases in the province. Of those, 133 are in the Winnipeg Health Region alone.

"We are going to need to look at more strict measures," says Dr. Brent Roussin, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer. "We can see we've lost our way with the fundamentals at this point. So we're going to need to act to be able to bring down these numbers before continued escalation."

Dr. Roussin says tighter restrictions could be introduced as early as tomorrow, but more than likely they will take effect early next week. He has not identified exactly what they will look like.

"I would say expect widespread capacity limitations across multiple sectors," says Dr. Roussin.

According to the doctor, the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region will not be elevated to Red under the Pandemic Response System, at least, not yet. Though, he says it is possible that personal care homes will be moved to Red.

Dr. Roussin has hinted that restrictions will likely involve sporting activities. He notes they need to find a way to continue sports, but with further restrictions on crowds or even more physical distancing on benches.