COVID-19 Daily updates - Wednesday, April 8


2:36 p.m. $5 million fund created for research related to COVID-19

The Manitoba Government has announced a new fund to advance strides towards vaccines and treatments for COVID-19. new, The $5-million COVID-19 research fund through Research Manitoba was announced today by Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen. 

“This new fund will support a clinical trial to determine if a commonly used drug can safely be used as a treatment for COVID-19,” said Friesen.  “The fund will also provide support for local researchers to develop solutions to health-care issues in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

More than $3.5 million will be used to support clinical and applied research including $700,000 for Manitoba’s first COVID-19 clinical trial for a drug to fight this virus, the minister said.  The study will test whether or not the drug hydroxychloroquine, used to treat rheumatology issues, can prevent people from contracting COVID-19.  The scientific trial will determine if the drug can safely be used as a treatment for COVID-19. 

An additional $500,000 will be invested in partnerships with industry and philanthropic sources supporting existing trials based in Manitoba but with sites across Canada and in seven other countries around the world, Friesen said, adding $1 million will be invested in COVID-19 innovation projects including looking at the development of diagnostic tools. 

The minister noted the development of the fund builds on funding for other research opportunities during the pandemic including:

•    the University of Manitoba investigating how logistical systems can adapt to a pandemic;
•    developing a cost-effective, point-of-need diagnostic test for COVID-19 at the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health; and
•    developing a COVID-19 vaccine at the University of Manitoba.

“While we have learned a great deal about this virus in just a few months, there are many more questions that need to be answered,” said Friesen.  “These investments will help contribute to the world’s understanding of the virus and make important strides toward vaccines, treatments and possible changes to our health system to better combat COVID-19.”


2:09 p.m. Neepawa & Area Chamber of Commerce cancels Chamber Fair

It is will a heavy heart that I am emailing you to let you know we have decided to cancel the Neepawa and Area Chamber Fair this year.  The Chamber Board and Fair Committee are being guided by Health Canada and the Government of Manitoba, and don't foresee an end to this social distancing and gathering restrictions in time for the Fair May 29-31, 2020. 

I can’t thank you enough for your partnership and/or sponsorship for this event, and look forward to working with you next year! If you’ve sent a cheque for financial sponsorship, please reach out to the Chamber office as below, to discuss a refund of your payment. The office itself is currently closed to the public/business owners, but still open for you, so please feel free to call or email.  We continue to be here to support you and your business through this difficult time.

However, the Committee is already starting to talk about a "back in business" or “community party” event for the summer/fall/whenever this is over...and would love to continue to work with you to celebrate community and business in Neepawa (and Area).

(Email sent by the Neepawa Chamber to its member businesses)


1:07 p.m. Four new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba

Public health officials advise four additional cases of COVID-19 have been identified as of 9:30 a.m., bringing the total number of lab-confirmed positive and probable positive cases in Manitoba to 221.  

The data also shows:
•    12 individuals are currently hospitalized, which includes six individuals in intensive care; 
•    69 individuals have recovered from COVID-19; and
•    the total number of deaths reported in Manitoba is three.

Cadham Provincial Laboratory performed 477 tests on Tuesday, Apr. 7.  A total of 14,708 tests have been performed since early February.

Manitobans should not interpret current case numbers to mean the risk is reduced.  The current statistics may be a reflection of the effect strict social distancing measures have had and reaffirms that these measures must be continued.  Manitobans are reminded this is not the time to let their guard down.  Actions taken today will affect case numbers in the weeks ahead.  All Manitobans must remain vigilant to flatten the curve of this virus.  This weekend is normally busy with gatherings for Easter or Passover celebrations.  However, families are reminded that gatherings with anyone from outside your household are strongly discouraged.

Manitobans are reminded to continue seeking care for regular and chronic medical conditions.  Primary care and community health offices continue to be available for those patients in need of care, with virtual (phone and video) options available as well as in person appointments and walk-in services. 

Testing sites and assessment clinics will NOT be walk-in services.  People seeking testing should still call Health Links-Info Santé first or be referred by their primary care provider. 

For up-to-date information on community screening sites, visit

Public health is also advising people to remain within or close to their home communities.  This includes limiting travel, even within Manitoba, to essential trips only.  Services at smaller health centres could be strained if seasonal visitors become ill. 


11:06 a.m. Manitoba 150 celebrations on pause

Due to the significant public health concerns surrounding COVID-19 and large public gatherings, major Manitoba 150 celebrations are being paused for 2020, Premier Brian Pallister announced today.

“As Manitobans, we all love our beautiful summers and we were looking forward to celebrating Manitoba’s 150th anniversary, but right now, health and safety must come first,” said Pallister.  “We know this is a difficult time for Manitobans, but we will get through this.  We look forward to the days when we can reunite with our friends and neighbours to keep celebrating our great province.” 

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Manitoba joining Confederation and many activities and events to commemorate this significant milestone were planned by the Manitoba 150 Host Committee Inc.

All remaining events and public activities associated Manitoba 150 are being postponed, but funding will remain in place to support community projects and events when public health advice advises it is once again safe to hold large public gatherings, said Monique LaCoste and Stuart Murray, co-chairs of the Manitoba 150 Host Committee.

The Unite 150 Concert featuring a full slate of Manitoba artists, originally planned for June 27 at the Manitoba Legislative Building, will be rescheduled in 2021.

“Once it is safe for Manitobans to gather for Unite 150 under the watchful gaze of the Golden Boy, the theme ‘United in Celebration’ will truly take on its full meaning,” Pallister said.

For organizations under the province’s ‘Community Festivals and Events’ program, that must cancel their events this year due to COVID-19, the province is committed to covering up to 50 per cent of eligible funding.

Organizations with questions about events and funding should email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .