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About COVID-19

On December 31, 2019 an outbreak of a novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19) was detected in Wuhan, China. As the situation continues to evolve, Health Authorities at international, national and local levels continue to monitor, gather information, assess risk and respond.



First identified in the 1960s, coronaviruses (CoV) cause illness in humans and animals. Sometimes animal coronaviruses can infect humans. Only a handful of these coronaviruses that started in animals are able to spread person-to-person. Most of the coronaviruses that infect humans are associated with mild illness, similar to the common cold. However, some newer coronaviruses have caused more severe illnesses, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (caused by the virus MERS-CoV), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (caused by the virus SARS-CoV) and now COVID-19 (caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2).


NEW Last updated: August 12, 2020

In early January 2020, a novel (new) coronavirus was detected in Wuhan, China. The World Health Organization officially named this novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19 (first referred to as 2019-nCoV). COVID-19 is caused by a new strain of coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2 that had not been previously identified in humans prior to January 2020.

Human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 has been confirmed. Current evidence suggests that spread most commonly occurs when there is prolonged and close contact (within two metres or six feet for 15 or more minutes) between people. Public health officials in Canada and Manitoba are focused at this time on containing the disease (i.e., reducing the potential spread of COVID-19 to people in the community and decreasing the virus' impact on the community). As the situation continues to evolve, international health authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), as well as Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living, continue to monitor, gather information, assess risk, and respond to the evolving situation.


NEW Last updated: August 12, 2020

The virus can be spread through close contact (within two metres or six feet) with an infected person who is coughing or sneezing. You can also get COVID-19 by touching objects contaminated with the virus and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose.

Recent evidence indicates that COVID-19 can be transmitted by individuals who are not showing symptoms. This may include those who have yet to develop symptoms and those who may never develop symptoms.

Manitoba public health officials have provided guidance to health care providers about what should be done if they suspect someone has COVID-19. In addition, they are working with WHO and PHAC and other provinces and territories to respond to the evolving situation.


Symptoms may include:

  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Fever/ chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Sore throat/ hoarse voice
  • Shortness of breath/ breathing difficulties
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Vomiting, or diarrhea for more than 24 hours
  • Poor feeding if an infant
  • Runny nose
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea or loss of appetite
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Skin rash of unknown cause

While many people will develop only mild symptoms, some groups appear to be more vulnerable to COVID-19. Those at higher risk typically develop more serious, even fatal, symptoms such as pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome and kidney failure.

High risk groups include those:

  • 60 years of age and older
  • living with chronic health conditions (e.g. diabetes, heart, renal or chronic lung conditions)
  • with weakened immune systems (e.g. cancer)

Symptoms of COVID-19 or other coronaviruses may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to the virus.



Health care providers can diagnose coronavirus infections based on symptoms and laboratory tests. A detailed travel and exposure history may be required, particularly in the case of COVID-19. At this time, there are no specific treatments for illnesses resulting from coronaviruses, including COVID-19. Most people with these illnesses will recover on their own. However, some individuals may require medical care in hospital.



NEW Last updated: December 11, 2020

Yes, emerging evidence has shown that a person can be re-infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Research has documented reinfection by showing individuals infected by different strains of the virus. However, based on the cases reported around the world, it seems to be rare for a person to become re-infected.



NEW Last updated: December 11, 2020

There are still many unknowns, including how long immunity may last, and what level of protection it may offer. In addition, it is too soon to say whether, or how, reinfection may differ from the previous infection due to the small number of cases reported globally to date.

As a result, it is important to continue following Public Health advice, even if you have recovered from a prior COVID-19 infection. Act as though you have not been infected before.



NEW Last updated: December 11, 2020

Yes, but the timing of tests needs to be carefully considered, as tests can detect evidence of the virus long after you have recovered from COVID-19. Based on our understanding of other human coronaviruses, you may be susceptible to reinfection around 3 months after your initial infection.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, 3 or more months after your first infection, you should isolate and go for testing.

If you develop symptoms less than 3 months after the first infection, a decision to re-test will depend on your exposure history, the severity of your symptoms, your pre-existing medical conditions and if you work with populations at higher risk of severe illness. Call Health Links - Info SantÚ at 204-788-8200 or (toll-free) at 1-888-315-9257 to determine if you should go for testing.



NEW Last updated: December 11, 2020

Yes, however, the guidance depends on a number of factors.

If you have no symptoms, and it has been less than 3 months since your first infection, you do not need to self-isolate (quarantine) but you should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days from your last exposure. If you develop symptoms you should isolate immediately, use the on-line COVID-19 Screening Tool at https://sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19/screening-tool or call Health Links - Info SantÚ at 204-788-8200 or (toll-free) at 1-888-315-9257 to determine if you should go for testing.

If you have no symptoms, but it has been more than 3 months since your first infection, you should self-isolate (quarantine) for 14 days from your last exposure and self-monitor for symptoms. If you develop symptoms you should immediately isolate and go for testing.

If you work with high risk or vulnerable populations (i.e. long term care, corrections, shelters, etc.), regardless of how many months it has been since your first infection, speak to your work’s occupational health and safety to see if additional precautions are recommended and whether you should go for testing.



NEW Last updated: December 11, 2020

If you have completed your isolation period, no longer have symptoms, and have confirmed with public health officials that you can stop isolating, you can resume normal activities outside of the household.