Recently, there has been a lot of discussion in the media about COVID-19 (aka Corona virus) and people are wondering about testing at The Minor Illness & Injury Clinic.  Unfortunately, WE ARE UNABLE TO OFFER TESTING FOR COVID-19.

  • If you are worried that you or a loved one may be infected by COVID-19, you should call Health Links at (204) 788-8200 or 1 (888) 315-9257
    • Wait times will vary, but we suggest holding until you get through
  • Testing is being done at Access Fort Garry, Access West, Access Transcona and Mount Carmel Clinic for patients at risk of the virus and minimal symptoms.  This testing is by appointment ONLY so please do not simply show up and expect a test
  • Any patients at risk of COVID-19 but who have more serious symptoms, such as shortness of breath, should present to their local ER or Urgent Care


However, in order to assist our patients understand this virus a bit better, and to help them to navigate the challenging times ahead, we have decided to offer a brief tutorial on COVID-19.  This information is not meant to replace information shared by Manitoba Health, Health Canada or the World Health Organization.  Please defer to these organizations for up-to-the-minute information about COVID-19.


COVID has been declared a Pandemic:

  • On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic.  This is the highest category of public health emergency.  The reason for this declaration is as follows:
    • As of today, there are 125,000 confirmed cases in 118 countries, including Canada
    • The virus is spreading rapidly with the number of cases outside of China has increased 13 fold in the previous two weeks
  • The WHO is concerned that some countries are not taking the threat seriously enough to enact the necessary measures to contain the outbreak


Why is it spreading so quickly and why should all of us be cautious?

  • This virus is new to people.  We’ve never been exposed to it before so no one has developed immunity to it.  With other viruses, such as the flu, most of us have been exposed to it in some form so our bodies have generated some protective antibodies that help to limit the spread throughout the population.  In the case of COVID-19, because we don’t have the antibodies to fight the virus, people who are exposed to the virus are more likely to become ill.
  • The virus is spreading quickly between people.  It is thought that the virus can live on surfaces like hard plastics and metals for several days, and possibly as much as a week or more.  For example, this means that if an infected person coughs or sneezes onto a shopping cart handle, the virus could survive on that cart handle for quite some time.  As such, the next people to touch that shopping cart handle could come into contact with the infection.
  • This virus is causing severe illness in some people.
    • For the majority, 81% will experience a fairly mild illness
    • Severe disease (requiring hospitalization) will occur in 14%
    • Critical disease (requiring ICU) will occur in 5%
      • Majority of critical cases appear to be in patients who are older and who have pre-existing illnesses


How is the virus spread?

  • While our understanding of the COVID-19 virus is incomplete, it is thought that person-to-person spread occurs mostly through respiratory droplets.  This means that when a person who is infected with the virus coughs or sneezes (or even talks) small droplets containing the virus are expelled into the region around that person.  If these droplets come into contact with another person, particularly with that persons eyes, nose or mouth, then there is a high risk that the second person will become infected.
  • This is why it is important for people to:
    • cover their cough
    • wash their hands frequently
    • avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth when interacting in a public space with many other people
    • observe the recommendations of local, national and international public health officials regarding travel, public gatherings, etc…


How long does it take to develop symptoms after a person has been exposed to the virus?

  • Currently, the incubation period is thought to be within 14 days.  Review of current data suggests that the range is from 2-12 days.
  • Individuals who have not become ill within 14 days of exposure are unlikely to develop the illness


What are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19?

  • COVID-19 feels a lot like the flu at first:
    • Fever (99%)
    • Fatigue (70%)
    • Dry cough (59%)
    • Loss of appetite (40%)
    • Sore muscles (35%)
    • Shortness of breath (31%)
    • Coughing up phlegm (27%)
  • Having most of these symptoms and signs increases a person’s likelihood of having the virus, but not all patients with COVID-19 will have all of the symptoms.
  • There have been reports of “asymptomatic” infections, meaning people who are infected with the virus but who do not have any of the symptoms or signs listed above.


Who should be tested?

  • Everyone who has developed any of the above listed symptoms within 14 days of returning from international travel should be tested
  • Everyone who has developed any of the above listed symptoms within the last 14 days of being exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 should be tested
  • Everyone who has developed any of the above listed symptoms within the last 14 days of being exposed to someone with any of the above symptoms who has recently travelled internationally


Where should people go to get tested?

  • In Winnipeg, Public Health, the provincial government and the WRHA are working together to help mitigate the risk to individual patients as well as health care providers and institutions.
  • Effective March 12, Access Fort Garry (135 Plaza Drive, phone 204-940-7100) and Access West (280 Booth Drive, phone 204-940-2040) have been opened for testing of at risk patients with mild symptoms.  Effective March 13, Access Transcona and Mount Carmel Clinic will also be open for testing.
    • They will be open from 9AM-7PM Monday-Friday and from 9AM-4PM on Saturday and Sunday
  • Anyone who is suffering from more severe respiratory symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, should present to the local emergency room or urgent care centre.


For more complete and up to date information about COVID-19, visit the Manitoba Health website at: