If you’re living in Winnipeg, make sure to boil your water before drinking it. Apparently, the Canadian city’s water supply has been contaminated with E. Coli.
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) has issued a boil water advisory to the city’s nearly 700,000 residents after a test confirmed the presence of E. coli in the local water supply. According to a press release made by the WRHA, the advisory was being issued “as a precautionary measure as a result of two clusters of positive results involving the presence of E. coli” received on Tuesday.
As of press time, the city’s health authorities have yet to identify the cause of the contamination. However, the advisory will remain in place while they continue to investigate. They also assured everyone that public health is “proceeding according to provincial and national guidelines.” The WRHA is expected to provide an update on the boil water advisory later on.
According to reports, city engineers ran tests to determine where the contamination originated. Five of the samples that came from areas east of the Red River, while another that came from southwest Winnipeg tested positive with E. coli. Despite of this, there hasn’t been any report of Winnipeg residents contracting illnesses since the news about the water contamination broke out.
“E. coli is an ‘indicator’ of water contamination that we measure, and there are many other types of bacteria in water that could cause illness. However, a high amount of chlorine has been found in the same water samples measured yesterday, which is reassuring because this would suggest that any bacteria or viruses present in the water would likely be killed,” the WRHA said in a statement.
To prevent illnesses, Winnipeg residents have been advised to boil water for a least one minute before drinking and making ice, preparing food and beverages such as infant formula, and brushing teeth. The St Boniface General Hospital also started giving bottled water to patients instead of the usual tap water.
Schools, on the other hand, used social media to inform parents and students that drinking fountains will be switched off. Parents have also been advised to pack either boiled or bottled water for their children as all schools in the city will remain open.
Meanwhile, sales of bottled water in the city jumped significantly as shoppers grabbed as many water supplies as they can amidst the boil water advisory. As a matter of fact, many store shelves were empty by 9pm.