A new appointment-based COVID-19 testing system, launching first in Winnipeg, may soon be coming to other communities in Manitoba.

The appointment-based system will give Manitobans an option to call or go online to make appointments to get a COVID-19 test.

The system is being rolled out in Winnipeg first to address the high demand for testing in the city.

Health Minister Cameron Friesen also noted that starting later this week, Manitobans will be able to access positive COVID-19 test results in Shared Health’s online self-serve portal, which has previously only provided negative COVID-19 test results.

No referral or appointment is needed at Prairie Mountain Health testing sites.

The walk-in testing site in Dauphin is located at 301 Main Street North, open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

A fire last week in Ethelbert is being investigated by RCMP as suspicious in nature.

On Thursday, October 15 around 11:15 p.m., police were notified of a fire at a building in Ethelbert being used for storage.

Several semi-trailers parked near the building were also damaged in the blaze.

RCMP are investigating and are asking that anyone with information please call 204-622-5020.

Public health officials have announced 80 new cases of COVID-19 bringing the provincial total to 3,382.

Today’s data shows:

  • four cases in the Interlake-Eastern health region;
  • five cases in the Northern health region;
  • six cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region;
  • 14 cases in the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region; and
  • 51 cases in the Winnipeg health region.

There are still two active cases in Dauphin, 1 in Little Saskatchewan, 1 in Whitemud, and 3 cases in the Asessippi health district, 2 of those being new today.

Along with the new cases, two more deaths due to the virus have been announced, bringing the total to 42.

The new deaths are a female in her 80s and a male in his 70s both from Winnipeg and linked to the Heritage Lodge outbreak.

Right now, there are 1,743 active cases, 28 people in hospital and six in intensive care. 1,597 recoveries have been recorded.

There aren’t any new exposures to the virus in PMH.

On the topic of Halloween celebrations, Dr. Brent Roussin said Monday "Halloween is going to be different this year no matter what," and that Manitobans can go online to see the latest public health recommendations.

"I really encourage people to start thinking about what their Halloween is going to look like, how they can do that with reducing their contacts from outside their household — and to really make this a safe Halloween in all ways, including practicing the fundamentals," said Roussin.

With the growing number of cases in the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region, the province is introducing additional restrictions under the Restricted (orange) level of the #RestartMB Pandemic Response System. Click here to learn more about the new restrictions that are now in effect.

Rotary Radio Week got started with Kathy Bellemare joining Alex DeVries in the studio this morning.

They talked about the Rotary Club’s foreign exchange student program.

Bellemare says Rotary is an international organization and there’s a system to exchange students between countries.

“So the process would be, we would recruit a student from the high school here and they would indicate which countries they’d like to go to, they’d give two or three choices. Then, there’s an exchange division within Rotary International and they help make those matches. Then the student gets the opportunity to go to the country for 10 months and live with various Rotary families while they’re over there. When we send a student out, then we get a student into our community as well, and they get to live with various Rotary families during that year.”

Bellemare says there is a cost to the family to send their child abroad, but Rotary does a lot of support for the program. Rotary provides the student with an allowance because there are a lot of activities that happen to show off the country.

Bellemare says this kind of program works best for adventurous students.

“I mean, it’s a big deal to move away from home during your high school year when you’re just figuring things out and then go live someplace else. They actually don’t recommend that parents go visit their child during the Rotary exchange year, just to let them settle in and really enjoy what the community has to offer.”

If you want to get into the program, Bellemare says to contact any of the 37 Rotarians and they’ll get you the information you need. Rotary also goes into the high school to recruit students.

Coming up tomorrow morning on Rotary Radio Week is Clayton Swanton.

The restrictions on non-essential travel at the Canada-US border have been extended once again.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair confirmed the restrictions have been extended to November 21st.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the restrictions on non-essential travel at the border won’t be lifted until there’s clear evidence of the pandemic situation improving in the United States.

This week is Small Business Week, which revolves around building supports and showing off small businesses.

Stephen Chychota says this year’s theme is ‘Forging The Way Forward’.

“I kind of take it that, we’ve went through this pandemic, we’re still in it, and what can we do to forge our way forward and come out the other side a little bit better, little bit stronger, little bit smarter. With the supports that businesses have been getting from other organizations and from government, just trying to make sure that there’s jobs for people to go to, to make sure that there’s these businesses are out there and able to do their thing and survive and get through this pandemic. It’s again, the Small Business Week reflecting on what we’ve been through for the past few months and making sure we can go forward through all this.”

The Chamber has events planned all week, some in partnership with The Hub and Take The Leap.

Small Business Week Schedule

Chychota says there are numerous ways to support small businesses.

“It can be as simple as making some posts on their social media pages and giving them a shout out, you can share some of their content and that message goes a long way for some of these small businesses. You can go actually to the business and ask them ‘what can I do?’ And there’s actually just going to the business, either if they have an online presence, buying something through their market there or going to the business itself and picking up some of their products or getting some of their service.”

Chychota adds that it’s very important to have small businesses.

“They are a huge part of our economic system out here. We know that in our region specifically, there’s a lot of ag, but there’s a tremendous amount of small and medium sized businesses out here. So, without them we’re lacking and we need those businesses out here to make sure that we’ve got the products we need.”

The Chamber is also doing a recognition piece this week for the hardest working students.

Chychota says if any businesses had students working for them over the summer, to nominate them to the Chamber to share the content for everyone else to know how hard they were working.

Then at the end of the week, Chychota will be on the Al Morning Show to pick two winners that’ll get some chamber bucks.

To finish a project to repair the amphitheatre stairs at the Selo Site, the Ukrainian Folk Arts Centre & Museum is asking for some money.

Identical requests for $10,000 have been sent to the City of Dauphin and RM of Dauphin.

The project’s expected to be finished in time for Dauphin’s Countryfest in 2021.

The Repair Project

Since the amphitheatre is built out of wood on the side of a hill and has been there since the early 1980s, pressure from the soil pushing against the stairs and seats over the years has shifted them to the point that they are considered hazardous.

Jim Perchaluk, president of the Ukrainian Folk Arts Centre & Museum, says after doing some research, they found out that replacing the stairs would cost half a million dollars.

“In consultation with a facility consultant from the Province of Manitoba we found that there is nothing wrong with the timbers, it was just that they were unsettled and if we could level them off, and some boards have to be replaced, we could do a repair project and some replacement. So we elected to go that route.”

To work on the stairs, all of the handrails had to be taken out. So, the handrails are being reinstalled and additional ones have been purchased because there were some areas that needed handrails.

A little bit of work has been done this fall in the project’s first phase.

Perchaluk says phase 1 was also a bit of a test to make sure it’s what they wanted. With the work looking good so far, phase 2 of the project will be done in spring 2021 with the goal of being finished before Dauphin’s Countryfest in 2021.

Funding For The Project

In total, the project will cost $126,000, with phase 1 being estimated at around $26,000 and phase 2 $100,000.

Already, they’ve received $81,851 from the Federal Government Social and Economic Development and $11,585 from the provincial government’s Building Sustainable Communities Fund. That leaves the organization needing $32,489.

In the past, the Ukrainian Folk Arts Centre & Museum has had fundraisers in addition to CNUF and Countryfest, but COVID-19 has made revenue for Selo Ukraina zero.

Perchaluk says they’re hoping for some community contributions as the site is a community facility that brings tourism to Dauphin.

“This is why we are knocking on the door of the City of Dauphin and I’ll mention also the RM of Dauphin. They got almost identical requests in for $10,000. So we’re looking for, we’re benefitting the community and area and here’s an opportunity that they can help us out, so we can return it in terms of improving the structure, facility for a continuation of the festivals in the future there.”

If the requests are accepted, that’ll leave $12,489 for Selo Ukraina. Perchaluk says they have a plan to get the rest of the money.

“We’re also knocking on the door of our Dauphin and District Community Foundation, we’ve got an application in for their fall intake and also Fusion Credit Union, their Red Circle Fund there. We’ve sent applications to them, normally those are smaller grants and our plan, if we’re successful in everybody giving what we’re asking for, there’ll still be a few dollars that we’re contributing and we’ll make up the difference.”

Perchaluk adds that if they don’t get what they're asking for, the organization will likely take out a bank loan with Fusion Credit Union.

Larry Hrytsay, on the board of directors, says if it wasn’t for COVID they probably would’ve been able to pay for the project themselves with some money from the government.

“Chances are pretty good we would’ve had maybe one or two more major events. There are some parties interested in it. Things have gotten on hold for various other reasons over the last couple years.”

Perchaluk says if the community wants to help them, an endowment fund was created for the costs associated with operating and maintaining the site. It’s targeted at the museum aspect, the Ukrainian Heritage Village at the site. Right now, for every two dollars contributed to the endowment fund, the provincial government will contribute one dollar.

Health officials announced 44 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, along with two more deaths.

A man and woman from the Winnipeg health region, both in their 70s, are the province’s 39th and 40th deaths due to COVID-19.

Today’s data shows:
• nine cases in the Interlake–Eastern health region;
• two cases in the Northern health region;
• two case in the Prairie Mountain Health region;
• six cases in the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region; and
• 25 cases in the Winnipeg health region.

The following Parkland health districts have active cases: Dauphin (2), Little Saskatchewan (1), Asessippi (1), and Whitemud (1). Brandon has 9 active cases of COVID-19. The Eriksdale/Ashern health district has 3 active cases.

There are 1,675 active cases in Manitoba, and 1,587 people have recovered from COVID-19.

There are 29 people in hospital and six people in intensive care.

The COVID-19 testing site in Dauphin has moved to a walk-in location at 301 Main Street North — operating Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

With the growing number of cases in the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region, the province is introducing targeted measures under the Restricted (orange) level of the #RestartMB Pandemic Response System. Click here to learn more about the new restrictions facing the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region, which go into effect Monday, October 19 for a minimum of 2 weeks.

Manitoba Hydro is advising of a planned service interruption for customers in Angusville, Waywayseecappo and Rossburn.

The planned outage will take place Sunday, October 18 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

About 1,350 customers will be affected by the service interruption.

Manitoba Hydro says the outage is required as crews are working to install equipment to make their system more reliable.

RCMP say speed and alcohol are considered to be factors in a Sandy Lake collision that seriously injured 5 people and caused significant damage to a home.

Police say they were notified around 4 p.m. on Friday, October 16 of an impaired driver in Sandy Lake who was speeding with another vehicle following it.

A collision was reported to police minutes later, and RCMP say they believe the two vehicles were speeding down Main Street in Sandy Lake when they collided — leaving the road and then colliding with a house. There was nobody in the home at the time of the incident.

A 25-year-old man driving one of the vehicles and a 21-year-old male passenger were taken to hospital with serious injuries, according to police. Another 32-year-old male passenger had minor injuries.

The occupants of the other vehicle, driven by a 25-year-old woman with two female passengers, were all taken to hospital with serious injuries.

RCMP continue to investigate the crash.

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(RCMP believe the two SUV's collided, and then collided into a home in Sandy Lake. Photos courtesy of T.J. Hookers Towing and Recovery | Facebook)

The Manitoba New Democrats presented a document on Thursday during question period which showed vacancy rates exceed 15% for some health-care positions in Prairie Mountain Health (PMH).

Official Opposition leader Wab Kinew called it a “clear trend”, that the Pallister government’s cutting of health-care services is resulting in “fewer people working at the bedside and helping our seniors."

Kinew pointed to the vacancy rate of 31% for registered nurses at the Dauphin Regional Health Centre as of August — which works out to 32 job openings.

Staffing shortages in PMH have resulted in some emergency room closures, including Erickson, Shoal Lake — and more recently Roblin, a move the health authority maintains is a temporary measure.

Prairie Mountain Health CEO Penny Gilson stated the regional health authority “is very cognizant of its vacancy rates,” and they are working “extremely hard trying to fill as many vacancies as we can. We are continuously advertising to fill vacancies.”

Gilson spoke to the challenges of recruiting to rural areas, and also said PMH has instituted “a number of employment strategies/initiatives towards promoting the benefits of working and living in rural Manitoba, with all the lifestyle benefits our region offers.”