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A significant source of spread of the COVID-19 virus is by people who are asymptomatic, we need to recognize this and act to reduce such spread

On Thursday November 19, I spoke on a Members Statement in the Manitoba Legislature about the importance of people who are asymptomatic with COVID-19 virus infections in the transmission of the virus.  We need to recognize this and we need, in Manitoba, to implement best practices recommended by experts and which are being used in other jurisdictions. My Members Statement is below.

The Importance of Asymptomatic individuals to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic

Eleven months ago, as detailed in Bob Woodward’s book RAGE, the United States had intelligence the COVID-19 virus was extremely dangerous.  A major reason was the best estimate from China that 50% of individuals who were infected had no symptoms.  In the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Dr. Marukas a leading infectious disease specialist, writes - an effective strategy for stopping the spread of this coronavirus “must focus on detecting both… individuals with and without symptoms”.  She continues “For an aggressive test-and-trace strategy to be effective, resources must be available to proactively identify and test all close contacts of individuals newly diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection.”  This will make a difference, in part because anyone identified with a positive test can have their contacts traced.  This is important to slow virus spread.

Further, as Dr. Sandhu says in the National Institute of Ageing’s Iron Ring report, up to 50-70% of residents who test positive for COVID-19 in personal care homes are asymptomatic.  To prevent further devastation to their seniors, on June 9th Ontario  called for the testing of all residents and all staff at personal care homes as soon as an outbreak was detected.  I have repeatedly called for this, yet our provincial government has failed to do this more than five months later.  Residents in personal care homes are at the very highest risk of death from COVID-19.  Manitoba must implement best practices from Ontario. 

190 Manitobans have already died from COVID-19  infections.  I urge the government to recognize that symptomatic spread is important and to act today on these recommendations.  

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