Today's the day!

We're still in code red, but the eased restrictions announced by the province earlier in the week are now in effect.

Household limits have been updated, with the new rules allowing for two designated people to visit inside a home. Outdoor private gatherings can have up to five people plus the members of the household.

Funerals may have up to 10 people in attendance, in addition to the officiant. 

The new rules make things easier for retail businesses by getting rid of the "essential items" list. Businesses can now open at 25% capacity or for 250 people, whichever is lower, as long as physical distancing is maintained.

The province says orders are being expanded to allow for the operation of basic services that promote physical and mental health for Manitobans. That means non-regulated health services, such as pedorthists and reflexologists, can reopen with adequate physical distancing and requirements to collect information for contact tracing purposes.

The last change to the rules allows barbershops and hairstylists to reopen at 25% capacity with adequate physical distancing and requirements to collect information for contact tracing purposes.

These changes are in effect everywhere except the Northern Health region, which continues to see higher case volumes.

The rules will be in effect for 3 weeks, at which point the province's situation will be reassessed.

Having a social media presence is especially important for businesses now, more than ever.

Coming up on Wednesday, the Dauphin Chamber is hosting a Lunch & Learn to help businesses with social media.

Stephen Chychota says Stephanie Jaddock is joining them for the session.

“She will be going over some do’s and don’ts and how to even start with building a presence on social media. We’ll be looking at a number of platforms that businesses can take advantage of, trying to get in front of their fan base. But, it should be a really engaging and interesting discussion.”

Chychota says the topic is always changing and the tools Stephanie will be going over will be very beneficial.

To register, click here. It costs about $19 for chamber members and $24 for non-chamber members. Also, by registering, you’ll get $5 back in Chamber Bucks.

The session will be held online over Zoom on Wednesday, January 27th.

The Dauphin Chamber has also started a program, through some funding from the province and Manitoba Chamber, to help businesses with social media.

Chychota says they’ve put a team together, to go out and help businesses that don’t have Facebook pages but want to be on Facebook.

“We’ve been building that for a few weeks now and helping a number of businesses in the area build a basic Facebook page. So at least there’s some info online for their business, so people can find them, find their business hours, their contact information, and stuff like that.”

Chychota says to get in contact with the Chamber if you’d like some help getting your business on Facebook.

A 2nd confirmed case of COVID-19 is being reported in Pine Creek First Nation, a day after a lockdown was put into effect by the chief and council in response to a self-confirmed case in the community.

In a Facebook post on Friday, Pine Creek First Nation Chief Karen Batson shared reports of a 2nd confirmed case in the community.

A letter sent out to the community on Thursday states no community members will be allowed to leave until the lockdown is lifted — with exceptions for work and medical emergencies.

The letter also says health staff have been in contact with the individual, who is now self-isolating, and have completed the contact tracing process.

Pine Creek First Nation Chief and Council will be closing offices and the school until further notice.

Check stops will be placed at each road coming into the community starting Thursday evening, and the letter says Duck Bay community members will be escorted through the community and not allowed to stop anywhere in Pine Creek.

Community members in Pine Creek First Nation are being told to stay in their homes and not visit other homes — and that safety officers will be handing out fines for non-compliance.

The Chief and Council say the lockdown will be reassessed on Monday, Jan. 25th.

Prairie Mountain Health are providing more details about their respiratory clinics operating in Dauphin, Brandon, Swan River, Neepawa, and Russell.

The respiratory clinics are meant for those who have cold symptoms (cough, runny nose, sore throat) that need to see a doctor but do not need to go to the emergency room.

Physician and Chief Medical Officer of the Dauphin Regional Health Centre, Dr. Trina Mathison, says the respiratory clinics are a dedicated space where healthcare staff in full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can assess patients in person. At this time, people with respiratory symptoms (cough, runny nose, sore throat) can not be seen in the regular clinic.

Dr. Mathison says the respiratory clinics are helping to avoid overburdening emergency rooms, and allow staff in PPE to provide in-person treatment instead of over the phone. The respiratory clinics are typically staffed with a physician, respiratory technologist, a nurse and clerical staff.

She says it’s totally fine for people who are COVID-positive to be assessed there, as staff are taking all the necessary precautions like wiping down between appointments.

Dr. Mathison says the Dauphin respiratory clinic is open by appointment only (204-622-4194), Monday to Friday from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Anyone who wants to be assessed at the Dauphin respiratory clinic must wear a mask, bring a Manitoba health card, and enter the Dauphin Hospital through the main entrance, not the emergency room entrance. 

Click here to see the hours and locations of all other respiratory clinics in Prairie Mountain Health.

PMH first started operating respiratory clinics in November, and will likely have them running until at least June.

Anyone who thinks they may have COVID, but have no pressing medical concerns, should visit their local COVID-19 testing site for testing.

Some updated public health orders go into effect Saturday morning. Click here to read more.

Manitoba has added 173 new cases of COVID-19 today and 2 deaths today.

One of the deaths is in Winnipeg and the other is in the Southern Health region.

Today’s new COVID-19 cases are in the following health districts:
• 33 cases in the Interlake-Eastern health region
• 64 cases in the Northern health region
• 11 cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region
• Nine cases in the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region and
• 56 cases in the Winnipeg health region

The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 9.3 percent provincially and 6.2 percent in Winnipeg.

Manitoba has had a total of 28,260 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

There are 3,261 active cases and 24,204 individuals who have recovered from COVID-19.

There are 133 people in hospital with active COVID-19 as well as 141 people in hospital who are no longer infectious but continue to require care (274 total hospitalizations).

There are 24 people in intensive care with active COVID-19 and 15 who are no longer infectious but continue to require critical care (39 total ICU patients).

The number of deaths due to COVID-19 is 795.

According to the province’s data, there are active cases in the following Parkland health districts: Dauphin (4), Riding Mountain (2), Porcupine Mountain (54), Duck Mountain (5), Asessippi (9), Little Saskatchewan (3), Whitemud (0, down from 1 yesterday), and Agassiz Mountain (36). Brandon has 59 active cases.

In the Interlake, the Eriksdale/Ashern health district has 67 active cases, while Fisher/Peguis has 63.

A man is facing charges after breaking into a home and assaulting a man on Thursday.

On January 21st, at around 12:10 a.m. Portage la Prairie RCMP responded to a home on 18th Street NW where the door had been kicked in, and a man claimed to be assaulted with a conducted energy weapon.

Officers determined that the suspect had entered the home while a man and woman were sleeping. When the man went downstairs, he was assaulted with a weapon and received minor injuries.

The suspect then fled and it was determined that the victim knew who the suspect was.

Police arrived at the home of the suspect and arrested 31-year-old Brandon Pratt. He is facing charges including unauthorized possession of a prohibited weapon, breaking, entering, and committing an offence, and failure to comply with a release order condition to not own, possess, or carry a prohibited weapon.

Pratt has been released and will appear in court.

The Ebb and Flow Band Office will be closed until further notice after a community member with a large number of close contacts tested positive for COVID-19, according to Councillor Brenda Baptiste.

Citing statistics from the Ebb & Flow health office, Baptiste tells CKDM one positive case resulted in 27 direct contacts and 105 secondary contacts, who are now self-isolating as a precaution.

The councillor says a birthday party gathering led to the high number of close contacts, and asks community members to be mindful of the risks of gathering in large groups during the pandemic.

“The birthday parties can wait. The family dinners can wait. Until we have this COVID-19 under control,” said Baptiste.

In a notice issued to the community on Facebook, Baptiste says the health office is doing a tremendous job and there’s been good cooperation among community members following the self-isolation directives of health officials.

“We need to keep our guard up as a community and keep this under control.” 

The councillor says although the Band Office is closed, the health office will remain open and available on Saturday, and the store will be open with limited hours to provide essential items.

She says Ebb and Flow will not be entering a lockdown.

Council Notice

The province is suspending grade 12 exams in June once again this year.

Manitoba Education sent a letter to superintendents and principals informing them of the decision.

Suspending the June exams allows teachers in the province to continue focusing on COVID-19 learning and the mental health and wellbeing of students.

Earlier this month, the province suspended grade 12 provincial tests for English and math, due to pandemic related difficulties.

Education Minister Cliff Cullen says they’re still expecting teachers to be able to evaluate their grade 12 students with some sort of exam or test.

The Manitoba government is announcing another $50 million in school funding in addition to the $160 million announced in last year’s budget.

The province says they’ve set aside more than $24 million for seven future school sites including two in the Brandon School Division.

The funding will also be used for structural renovations including roof replacements, mechanical systems, and accessibility upgrades.

The province says they are on track to fulfill its 20 New Schools Guarantee over 10 years.

There were 198 new cases of COVID-19 and 5 more deaths due to the virus announced on Thursday.

Another death has been reported at the McCreary/Alonsa Health Centre — a man in his 80s. It’s the sixth death reported at this facility during this outbreak.


Province Cautiously Changes Health Orders

Changes to the public health orders have been announced and will take effect Saturday, Jan. 23 for all regions in Manitoba, except for the north.

Roussin explains that current high COVID case numbers and test positivity rates in northern Manitoba means the province “is not yet in a position to ease restrictions in this region”.

The new health orders will last for three weeks — expiring Feb. 12 — and the entire province will remain in code red.

All previous health orders will remain in effect, with the following changes announced today:

Household Limits
Under the new rules, two people may be designated to visit a household. Outdoor visits of up to five people (plus members of a household) on private property like a backyard, will also be permitted under the new orders.

Funerals may have up to 10 people in attendance, in addition to the officiant. 

Retail Stores
The “essential items” list has been scrapped, and the new orders allow all stores to open to sell their products — as long as physical distancing is maintained with occupancy limits of 25%, or 250 people, whichever is lower.

Health & Personal Services
The province says orders are being expanded to allow for the operation of basic services that promote physical and mental health for Manitobans. That means non-regulated health services, such as pedorthists and reflexologists, can reopen with adequate physical distancing and requirements to collect information for contact tracing purposes.

Barber Shops & Hair Stylists
When the new orders take effect on Saturday barbershops and hairstylists may reopen at 25% capacity with adequate physical distancing and requirements to collect information for contact tracing purposes.

Some notable things left off the list? In-restaurant dining, gyms, fitness centres and nail salons are still mandated to remain closed under the orders.


Today’s COVID Numbers In Manitoba

The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 9.2% provincially and 6.6% in Winnipeg. The total number of lab-confirmed cases in Manitoba is 28,089.

The provincial data shows 3,205 active cases and 24,091 individuals who have recovered from COVID-19.

There are 125 people in hospital with active COVID-19 as well as 143 people in hospital who are no longer infectious but continue to require care (268 hospitalizations total).


There are 23 people in intensive care units with active COVID-19 as well as 11 people who are no longer infectious but continue to require critical care (34 ICU patients total).

The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 is 793.

Today’s COVID-19 data shows:
• nine cases in the Interlake–Eastern health region
• 105 cases in the Northern health region
• 17 cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region
• 13 cases in the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region
• 54 cases in the Winnipeg health region

According to the province’s data, there are active cases in the following Parkland health districts: Dauphin (5), Riding Mountain (2), Porcupine Mountain (54), Duck Mountain (6), Asessippi (7), Little Saskatchewan (4), Whitemud (1), and Agassiz Mountain (36). Brandon has 54 active cases.

In the Interlake, the Eriksdale/Ashern health district has 64 active cases, while Fisher/Peguis has 59.

Public health officials advise five additional deaths in people with COVID-19 have been reported today including:
• a female in her 60s from the Northern health region
• a male in his 80s from the Winnipeg health region, linked to the outbreak at Poseidon Care Centre
• a male in his 80s from the Prairie Mountain Health region, linked to the outbreak at the McCreary/Alonsa Health Centre
• a male in his 60s from the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region
• a female in her 90s from the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region, linked to the outbreak at Salem Home

A man is facing multiple weapons charges after a traffic stop in Portage la Prairie on Tuesday.

On Jan. 19 at around 8:15 p.m. RCMP were on patrol on 8th Street NW in Portage when they came across a pickup truck with an expired license plate.

Police were made aware of the vehicle after a report was filed the day before.

After pulling over the truck, officers noticed two firearms inside, one of which was a sawed-off semi-automatic shotgun.

The driver of the truck, 30-year-old Stewart Young from Winnipeg, was arrested on scene and will face charges including possession of a prohibited weapon, and two counts of unsafe storage of a firearm.