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Some Manitoba health workers may have to self isolate after colleagues test positive


April 1, 2020
By The Canadian Press

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Photo: CNW Group/Ontario Power Generation Inc.

Some Manitoba health-care workers have tested positive for COVID-19, and that could lead to others having to self-isolate.

The Manitoba government says one staff member at a hospital in Selkirk tested positive after travelling within Canada, and had been working while symptomatic between March 19 and 23.

Public health officials are tracking patients and other staff members who had close contact with the worker, and those people will have to self-isolate for 14 days.

The Manitoba Nurses Union says a nurse at a hospital emergency department in Winnipeg has also tested positive and is self-isolating.

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Union concerned about PPE

The union says it is concerned nurses are not always getting proper protective equipment while dealing with patients, putting workers at risk.

St. Boniface Hospital has sent a letter to workers that says a staff member in the echocardiography department has tested positive, and was working while symptomatic on March 25.

“Staff in the echocardiography department who worked alongside the individual when they were symptomatic … will be required to self-isolate for 14 days from the date of last exposure,” the memo reads.

On-the-job risks

The province’s chief medical officer said earlier this week the province is investigating cases involving health-care workers who might have caught COVID-19 while on the job.

“Certainly in other jurisdictions there are, and we have been investigating some cases where that type of transmission is considered,” Dr. Brent Roussin said Tuesday.

“Certainly when we see such cases, the investigation will centre around that — whether it could have been contracted in the workplace as well as was adequate (protective equipment) used at the time.”