As the COVID-19 pandemic develops, Steinbach’s MLA says it is important to remember that provincial and federal social distancing recommendations come from Medical Professionals.

MLA Kelvin Goertzen says the province is learning from what has happened in other countries and provinces and trying to take the best advice possible.

"It is not just politicians sitting around the table without a background or understanding with what is happening with the pandemic. It is our chief public health officials who are giving us recommendations based on their years of expertise. We will continue to rely on their advice."

Goetzen says if the province does nothing, the pandemic would pick up steam and we would most likely see an explosion of COVID-19 cases that would exponentially grow and overwhelm our healthcare system.

"There are also other people in the healthcare system for other reasons so whether you are getting treated for cancer or you have a heart attack, when you add all of those additional cases, it causes significant challenges. We are trying to flatten that curve, we are trying to spread out the number of cases. It is almost like a Manitoba flood, you don't want all that water to come all at one time or it overflows the banks, you want to be able to control it."

Social distancing recommendations include avoiding large crowds, washing hands regularly, staying home when sick, and self-isolating for 14 days when returning home from international travel. In the same vein, the province has announced schools will be closed for three weeks starting on March 23rd.

Goertzen says these recommendations are most effective when everybody does their part.

"A lot of people are going to say 'I don't think this is important, I think it is overreacting', don't do it for yourself then, think about your grandparent or your mother who might be in a high-risk category because if we hit that overwhelming number and it swamps the healthcare system, they might be the ones who are impacted. This isn't an individual sort of response, it is about a societal response."

Goertzen notes what the province is trying to do is get ahead of a really bad situation. He adds if we can slow down the spread of COVID-19, our healthcare system should be able to keep up.