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Speaking in the Manitoba Legislature on the coronavirus Corvid 19

Earlier today, I spoke in response to a statement by Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living Cameron Friesen on the coronavirus Corvid 19.    My comments are below: 

I thank the Minister for arranging the briefing this morning.  With COVID – 19 outbreaks in South Korea, Italy, and Iran, and recent new cases and deaths in the United States, Manitoba needs to show we are ready with a plan to ensure Manitobans stay as safe as possible in the likely case that the virus reaches and spreads in Manitoba.

We don’t want to alarm anyone, but we do want to make sure this government actually has a plan in place for places Covid 19 could hit hard, especially First Nations Communities, Personal Care Homes and shelters like Shiloam Mission and the Main Street Project.

With past experience with the H1N1 flu, the government must have a plan in place for northern communities and other places where people are living in close quarters with less direct access to health care facilities and hospitals. Having a detailed public plan will reduce the need for people to panic.

It is important to have this detailed plan in place especially for people at higher risk.  For example, special procedures need to be present to protect residents of personal care homes. The mortality rate for coronavirus is 3.6% for those aged 60-69, 8% for ages 70-79, and 15% for those age 80 and over. Current evidence suggests this higher mortality in older people is related, in part, to many having underlying chronic diseases. 

We have been hearing from health professionals and the public that any plans that have been made in these areas have either not been made or have not been adequately communicated.  This has to change.

We are also want to know the government’s plans to keep the Legislature operational should MLAs be under quarantine.  We heard this morning it is important to make it easy for people to work from home.   Will the government have video links to the chamber available so that, if necessary, MLAs who are quarantined can continue to participate in the Legislative sessions from home?


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