COVID-19 in Canada: Manitoba contact tracers face ugly side of frustrated Canadians, Ontario premier warns residents to 'be super cautious' for holidays

Elisabetta Bianchini
·6-min read

For more on today’s top stories and the spread of the novel coronavirus across the country, please refer to our live updates below throughout the day, as well as our COVID-19 news hub.

Contact tracers in Manitoba being verbally abused, provincial chief public health officer reveals

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer, said that with more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases reported in the past three days, the province “desperately seeking buy-in” from Manitobans to stop the spread of the virus.

“We can’t sustain this number of cases in our healthcare system,” Dr. Roussin said. “We need to bring these numbers down and we need to work on that starting right now.”

“Our hospitals are near capacity,...our healthcare providers are becoming overwhelmed. Many Manitobans are scared right now but we do know what to do, we can act right now to keep bringing these numbers down.”

This comes as the province reported another 392 COVID-19 cases on Monday and 10 deaths, with a test positivity rate at 13 per cent over the last five days.

Dr. Roussin also had stern words for people who have verbally abusing contact tracers, who are mostly public health nurses, when being informed of possible COVID-19 exposure.

“They’re calling people to inform them that they’re cases, they’re calling people to inform them that they’re contacts and they’re getting yelled at, sworn at,” he said. “We have business operators yelling at public health nurses because they’re advising them that employees are ill and will need to self-isolate.”

“I don’t understand the thought process behind that. Should we have infectious people at your store putting others, putting your patrons at risk? We can’t accept his behaviour.”

Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer stressed that everyone in the province needs to stay home, only socialize with people in their household and only go out for essential purposes.

“We saw examples of that not occurring on the weekend,” Dr. Roussin said. “We saw examples of stores that were open as if there is no such thing as COVID.”

“We saw packed parking lots, we saw crowded stores. We can’t go on in this manner... We’re not looking for ways for Manitobans to go out right now, we’re looking for ways for Manitobans to stay home.”

He went on to give an example for one case identified over the weekend that had 85 contacts. Dr. Roussin said that a high number of contacts like this puts the whole province at risk.

People in Ontario have to ‘be super cautious’ over the holidays

Ontario Premier Doug Ford stressed at a press conference on Monday that provincial officials are being transparent about the COVID-19 situation and the recommendations being put forward by health experts.

“I’m the only elected official in the entire country that comes out here every single day, never missed day unless it’s civic holiday,...and takes questions from the media, and tough questions too,” Ford said. “I don’t shy away from it at all.”

The premier went on plead to the people of Ontario to stop holding private gatherings in their homes as COVID-19 case numbers continue to increase.

“I thought there was like fourth of July happening up in north Etobicoke,” Ford said. “Have fun but guys, you’ve got to have fun within your own family and your own household. That was disturbing.”

He added that everyone in Ontario shouldn’t be travelling to other provinces, including neighbouring Manitoba and Quebec.

The premier also addressed concerns about upcoming holiday celebrations and said everyone needs to “be super cautious” and should not expect to be able to hold large gatherings.

This comes after the Peel region issued a Section 22 Order where workplaces can now face a $5,000 fine a day for failing to “take necessary action to prevent or stop spread of COVID-19.” The order comes into effect on Monday at 6:00 p.m. local time.

Supply Ontario procurement agency announced

The Ontario government announced the Supply Ontario procurement agency in an effort to use a “whole-of-government” approach to purchasing goods and services.

This will include the procurement of critical supplies to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, like personal protective equipment (PPE).

“When people go shopping, they often buy in bulk to save money,” a statement from Ford reads. “We need to do the same thing in government, so we can deliver more value for taxpayer dollars and secure critical supplies for our frontline health care heroes and others in the public sector.”

Ontario reports almost 1,500 more COVID-19 cases

Ontario reported 1,487 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, including 508 new cases in Toronto, 392 in Peel and 170 in York Region.

The province did add a disclaimer about an underestimation in case counts that reads, “due to a technical error approximately 40 case records from Toronto Public Health for November 14 remain unreported today.”

The province also confirmed 10 more deaths, bringing the total to 3,371.

Ontario labs completed 33,351 test in the last 24 hours, with 16,254 tests currently under investigation.

There are 107 long-term care homes that are reporting a COVID-19 outbreak with 716 resident cases and 533 staff cases.

Ontario reported 106 new school-related COVID-19 cases, including 63 student cases, 14 new staff cases and 29 people who have not been identified.

In total, Canada has 298,000 cases and is nearing the 300,000 mark as second wave reports rise around the country.

Nunavut reports community spread of COVID-19

Nunavut is managing 18 active COVID-19 cases in the province, with 10 new cases confirmed on Sunday.

Nine of the newly reported cases are in Arviat, bringing the community’s number of positive cases to 1, and one case is in Rankin Inlet, bringing the community’s case total to two. The Rankin Inlet case has been linked to Arviat.

“Due to the number cases of COVID-19 in Arviat, anyone from Arviat who left the community on or after November 2 is being asked to immediately isolate for 14 days wherever they are,” a statement from Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer reads. “In addition, to protect Elders in Arviat, there will be no visitors allowed at the Elders’ centre for at least two weeks.

“Exemptions to this rule will need to be approved by the public health doctor on call.”

Territorial officials are stating that community transmission is present in Arviat alone.

Quebec reports more than 1,200 more COVID-19 cases

Quebec reported 1,218 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, including 285 cases in Montreal, 187 in Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean, 140 in Lanaudière and 140 in Montérégie.

The province also confirmed 25 more COVID-19 deaths, including six that occurred in the last 24 hours.

There are 591 people with COVID-19 in Quebec hospitals, with 87 people in intensive care.

Check out our COVID-19 in Canada topic page for latest news, tips, health updates, cases and more.