As Manitoba struggles to manage the country’s highest per capita rate of COVID-19 infection, Prime Minister Brian Palister is defending his government’s response to the pandemic.
Pallister says he remains in action to this day, adding that the increase is not isolated from Manitoba, as Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick and Alberta reported record one-day increases on Saturday.
“It’s out of control in the western world,” Pallister told CBC Rosemary Barton Live which aired on Sunday morning.
Although “there is always room for a posteriori,” the prime minister said he did not believe the province had waited too long to increase public health restrictions that prevent people from having visitors to their homes and businesses by selling unnecessary items. species.
With Steinbach’s healthcare district seeing a 40-day 40-day COVID-19 positive test rate on Friday and the area’s Hanover school district shifting entirely to distance learning, Pallister attributes the rise to a massive outcry that took place a week ago.
“We had gathered around 700 people last weekend and decided that they would have a stupid protest and that they would not wear masks or protect each other. It is also clear that, as a direct consequence of this, the number of COVID cases has increased there. , “he said.
A CBC News reporter was at the protest and about 100 people took part.
In addition, the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer, Dr. Brent Roussin told reporters on Friday that he had not seen any direct link between the protests and the COVID-19 cases at this time and that it was too early to say what the consequences would be.
A spokesman for the prime minister’s office said in an email late Saturday that Pallister was referring to the type of behavior displayed in the rally – such as not wearing a mask, lack of physical distance and staying home – as contributing to the increase in cases.
The Prime Minister’s comments on the detection of contacts have left some questions unanswered.
Pallister told Barton in an interview on Friday that there were no delays in the province in identifying contacts with people who tested positive for the virus.
“There are no delays in monitoring and tracking right now in our province. And we have hundreds of people adding to our monitoring to continue this system,” he said.
However, CBC News has made many stories about contact delays in Manitoba just 10 days ago, which was delayed for days.
The province declined to say how many contacts its trackers could reach in 24 hours, but the target is 80 percent.
A request for clarification on the prime minister’s comments was sent to his office on Friday and a spokesman did not respond in time for publication.
Pallister also told Barton that the number of contacts in each household “has dropped by more than 25%” since the last restrictions were imposed.
“Fortunately, we have already begun to see in the contact data that the number of contacts that people who have had COVID have had is declining,” he said.
CBC News reached the province and a spokesman for the prime minister’s office said Roussin supported the statistics.
The last round of restrictions took effect on November 12, when all of Manitoba was moved to the red – or critical – level of the pandemic response system.
Unnecessary retail stores, gyms, places of worship, theaters, hairdressers and leisure centers were ordered to close and the concentration was reduced to five people as part of the restrictions, which will remain in force until at least December 11.
The provincial government announced further restrictions on Thursday, ordering retailers selling basic items to stop selling non-essential items in stores and banning people from having someone outside their household in their homes, with a few exceptions.