As of Wednesday of this week there were 35 confirmed and probable cases of Covid-19 in Manitoba. It seems that these days, when it comes to the coronavirus, information changes by the hour. For that reason, it is good to have a reliable source of information on the different measures that are being taken to suppress the spread of the virus.
I would encourage all Manitobans to regularly check the Government of Manitoba website to get the most recent information on the situation on Covid19 here in Manitoba. While there is a great deal on the Internet and on the news about the virus, it may not all be reliable or relevant to what is happening in Manitoba.
Since the outbreak of the virus around the world, governments have been trying to respond in a way that will slow down its spread. The move toward social (or physical) distancing has happened very quickly with the vast majority of people taking measures to protect both themselves and their loved ones. Businesses deserve special recognition for how quickly they responded and implemented measures for their employees and their customers.
While Manitoba has not seen the number of infections that have been seen in many other parts of the world, it has also been shown that things can change quickly and it is better to prepare and take precautions to stay ahead of the virus. But those precautions we know can come at a personal cost as many businesses have been forced to layoff staff during this time.
Federally, there is work being done by all representatives of all parties to develop a financial package to help support those hurt by the economic impact of Covid19. Of course this is an unprecedented situation and it will be impossible for any government to mitigate fully all of the negative impacts. But steps are being taken. In Manitoba, it was announced Tuesday that the Pharmacare deductible would be frozen this year with the scheduled annual increase to the deductible being cancelled. Rent increases which were scheduled to take effect as early as April 1 have also been cancelled.
At this time, there are many people who need help. Some cannot get groceries or other goods because they are physically unable or for other medical reasons. Earlier this week, our government launched a new web application HelpNextDoorMB.ca which helps to match up those who need assistance with those who are willing to help. The tool was built by a Manitoba company and allows Manitobans to safely connect with those who need assistance while ensuring social distancing protocols are followed. During times of crisis or need, Manitobans have always stepped up to help one another and there is no doubt that they will do the same during the Covid19 pandemic.
Please take care of yourselves and ensure that you are taking steps to strengthen your mental and physical health. We will get through this together.