COVID-19 test swab.

Manitoba’s top doctor said people in Winnipeg need to change how they self-isolate to help reduce the number of COVID-19 cases in the province

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, said people in the Winnipeg Metro Region need to isolate if they have symptoms or a household member has symptoms.

"(They) should all self-isolate pending results," said Roussin. "So again, if a family has a child at home with symptoms of COVID, that entire family is to self-isolate pending results of that test. So it means no one else goes to school, no one goes to work."

He added that if the test comes back negative, the self-isolation can stop if no one else has symptoms.

"We know this will lead to a lot of absenteeism. Again it is in keeping with our message that people should be staying home for the most part."

There are people who are exempt from the changes and that includes healthcare workers, with Roussin saying they need to keep capacity in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

Roussin also explained again what self-isolating is and why it is important to do so when you have symptoms and you have been tested.

"When somebody is identified as a contact of a case, and is advised to self-isolate, the real purpose of that is that, should that person become a case, they would have zero contacts because they should be self-isolating from all others."

He said self-isolating means staying away from others in a household, and if a person is symptomatic, they should be in their own room and use their own washroom.

"We need to limit our contacts even in our own household," Roussin said.