WINNIPEG (TREATY 1, HOMELAND OF THE RED RIVER MÉTIS) - Yesterday, (Thursday, October 13, 2022) the Government of Manitoba released its weekly Provincial Respiratory Surveillance Report. This report contains the obviously false claim that there were zero (0) outbreaks in schools in Manitoba for “week 40” - October 2 through October 8. In fact, the provincial government has reported zero (0) outbreaks in schools for the whole of the 2022/23 school year to date (weeks 36 through 40).

“Any parent, student or teacher in Manitoba knows that the claim of zero outbreaks in schools in this report is not credible. We know that COVID-19 is running rampant in our schools and that they are a major vector of COVID-19 infection,” said Thomas Linner, Provincial Director of the Manitoba Health Coalition. “It is irresponsible of the Stefanson PC government to allow this kind of misinformation to be published in an official capacity. Such an obvious and repeated misttatement of facts casts doubt on all of the data presented by the province.”

Linner also noted that the publishing of false COVID-19 information emboldens extremist, anti-vaccine and anti-science candidates for local election, especially for the position of school trustee. “Manitoba media, national advocates like the Canadian Anti-Hate Network and local activists like Mary’s Elm have all raised community concerns about the prevalence of extremist candidates in our elections,” said Linner. “Without an accurate picture of the facts of COVID-19 and its spread in our schools and our province, these candidates are allowed free rein to spread conspiracy theories that will ultimately hurt our kids, our schools and our communities.”

The Manitoba Health Coalition is calling on the provincial government to provide a full technical briefing on COVID-19 in schools next week, before the majority of voters go to the polls in municipal elections. This briefing should include:

  • How the province has come to publish such obviously untrue information.
  • Its plan to rectify this situation and begin to provide accurate information on the prevalence of COVID-19 in schools.
  • Updated modelling on the potential path of new COVID-19 variants in Manitoba.
  • Clear benchmarks for what level of transmission and/or hospitalization would trigger a resumption of indoor mask mandates, vaccine passports and other measures.