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 10 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: August 12, 2020

At this time, it is unknown if a person who has recovered from COVID-19 can become infected again. This is a new virus, and Public Health officials continue to monitor and gather information about COVID-19. It is therefore important to continue following Public Health advice, even if you have recovered from a prior COVID-19 infection.