Doing a load of laundry during a pandemic requires detergent, a few dollars and a sign-in in downtown Winnipeg.
Upon arrival, new patrons at Spin City Laundry Centre on Edmonton Street are required to fill out their full name and contact information into the business’s binder. Each visit requires a time-stamp.
“We need to know who is coming and who is coming out because the government can help (if COVID-19 is detected),” manager Alfa Chang said Saturday.
The downtown laundromat started taking names in March to get ahead of contact tracing, should it ever be required. If a positive COVID-19 case is ever found to be linked to the business, staff would be able to flip through customer names and dates to determine who might have been in contact with a positive case so patrons can be notified.
As public health experts continue to tout contact tracing as an important way to contain the virus, a growing number of local entrepreneurs are taking similar proactive measures. Also in the city’s core, at Earls on Main Street, diners are asked for their first and last names, which are recorded by the restaurant for potential tracing in the future.
Manitoba’s contact tracing teams have been expanded in recent months to meet the increased demand for detective tracking work.
Once a COVID-19 case is identified, public health officials first call the individual, inform them they have tested positive and advise them to self-isolate. At the same time, they inquire about close contacts — including the people they live with and the health-care workers who have taken care of them.
Each of those individuals is then contacted, asked to monitor their symptoms and stay at home for two weeks. Officials are expected to check in on them to see if they experience symptoms and if they do, refer them to a testing site.
On Saturday, two new COVID-19 cases were identified in the province, making Manitoba’s total positive case count 417. The province no longer updates its website with specific details during the weekend; further information is expected to be made public on Tuesday.
As of Friday, six people are in the hospital — five of whom are in intensive care. The death toll remains at eight.
Maggie Macintosh reports on education for the Winnipeg Free Press. Funding for the Free Press education reporter comes from the Government of Canada through the Local Journalism Initiative.