Growing COVID-19 cases affect Winnipeg police, Manitoba schools

The Winnipeg Police Service declared a state of emergency Wednesday due to an overwhelming number of COVID-19 cases.

Police Chief Danny Smyth said roughly 13 per cent of his officers are off work due to the infectious virus.

“We had roughly about 90 positive cases and about 172 people off on sick leave,” he told reporters.

“What that meant for us is to re-deploy our services so we can have proper resources in general patrol.”

Smith said response times would not be affected, and the service was covering the staffing shortfall by redeploying officers from other areas.

The news came a day after school children in Manitoba were told they will return to remote learning until Jan. 17.

“This extra week will provide time for distribution of additional masks and rapid tests to schools across the province,” explained Health Minister Cliff Cullen.

However, the children of essential workers will continue to attend in-person classes, the province noted.

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