Provincial health officials have announced two new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba.

The announcement was made at a news conference at the Manitoba Legislative Building on Tuesday afternoon.

Lanette Siragusa, the chief nursing officer for Shared Health, said there have been 442 COVID-19 cases since early March.

There were 27 cases over the long weekend: 10 from the Prairie Mountain Health Region, two from the Interlake-Eastern Health Region, 12 from the Southern Health Region, and three from the Winnipeg Health Region.

Siragusa said of the new cases over the weekend, none are related to community contact and they all come from either a close contact or travel.

The current test positivity rate is 0.46 per cent.

One case was removed on Monday, as Siragusa said it was a duplicate from another jurisdiction.

There are currently nine people in hospital, four of which are in intensive care. There are 94 active cases and 341 people have recovered from the virus.

The death toll remains at eight.

Over the long weekend, thousands of tests were performed each day, with 1,803 completed on Friday, 1,354 on Saturday, 1,090 on Sunday, and 1,034 on Monday. A total of 93,995 tests have been completed since early February in Manitoba.

Siragusa also announced that two community drive-thru testing sites are going to remain open in the Prairie Mountain Health Region. The testing site in Killarney, Man., at the Tri-Lake Health Centre at 86 Ellice Dr. will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until Thursday.

The other site at the Russell, Man., EMS Building at 426 Alexandria Ave. S. will be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday.

WEARING MASKS IN SCHOOL

Manitoba Health Minister Cameron Friesen was asked if students in schools should be required to wear masks, as some provinces, like Alberta, are now making it mandatory for students in Grades 4 and up, a move based on advice from the chief health officer of Canada.

"The information is under consideration," said Friesen. "We still have a number of chapters to write in terms of the weeks that lead up to the start of class. Certainly, many things are still on the table. Many things are under discussion."

Friesen added that ventilation is also a discussion point the province is looking at for schools and even facilities like care homes.

"It is understandable to me that this would be part of the discussions when it comes to schools," Friesen said.

TRANSPARENCY WITH INFORMATION

Following the news conference, Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew said the government needs to be more transparent with information regarding COVID-19, with Kinew specifically mentioning the closure of several businesses in Steinbach, Man.

"This past long weekend we had a significant jump in cases in Manitoba and the public and media learned about the details to those cases from Smitty's, Boston Pizza and Facebook, rather than the Manitoba government," said Kinew.

He said this highlights the need for the government to provide more information and be more transparent with Manitobans.

"We've seen both domestically and internationally, that both COVID-19 and the anxiety that it causes spread in a vacuum of information. So, it's really important that people have the information so that they can take the proper precautions but also they can be well informed as to what is going on around the province," he added.

Kinew said Manitobans deserve to have a more accurate picture of where cases are happening, not only in the health regions, but in specific locations inside those health regions.

He also added he thinks there should be more regular briefing as the province continues to see higher case counts.

Friesen said the government is looking at more than one briefing a week.