COVID-19 March 13, 2020

There are now 3 presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba, all following out-of-province travel.
Provincial Update: The province provided the following updates today:

  • School closures: Late this afternoon, the province announced that Manitoba schools will close for three weeks starting March 23, but schools will still be open next week. This means schools will be closed the week before and the week after spring break. Currently, there is no direction provincially on day cares.
  • Reminder for patients to contact Health Links for screening and advice at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257. Staffing at Health Links is being more than doubled to handle call volumes.
  • Two additional screening clinics opened in Winnipeg at Mount Carmel Clinic (886 Main Street) and ACCESS Transcona (845 Regent Ave. W.). This is in addition to the two other clinics opened yesterday at Access Winnipeg West (beside Grace Hospital) and Access Fort Garry (135 Plaza Dr.). Clinics are open 9am to 7pm on weekdays and 9am to 4pm on weekends. After hours, and in rural areas, patients are directed to urgent care or ERs.
  • Containment reminders including social distancing, ensuring ill staff and students stay home from work or school and self-isolate, discontinuing non-essential work-travel and ensuring employers have a business continuity plan in place.

You can read today’s provincial bulletin for more information on health system measures. At the time of this email, there was not yet a provincial communique online about school closures, but you will see news coverage of Premier Brian Pallister who made the announcement late Friday afternoon.
Shared Health issued a fact sheet for primary care providers today that we encourage family physicians to review. It includes a summary of information you have already received from Doctors Manitoba, plus new information we have asked for on your behalf:

  • Self-isolation and self-monitoring after travel: Following international travel, physicians and clinic staff are now required to self-identify to the health system’s occupational health service and seek advice. You will find instructions on this at the end of the four-page fact sheet from Shared Health.
  • Testing: instructions for clinics interested in testing their patients, including precautions to take, how to submit specimens for testing and information to share with patients.
  • Instructions on ordering masks and other supplies, including Winnipeg and rural contact numbers (shared in yesterday’s update).

Click here to view the new Shared Health fact sheet.
On matters of billing and remuneration, we have heard your questions and your frustration about a lack of answers. We have raised your concerns and proposed solutions to provincial health officials, including providing virtual care, remuneration during self-isolation or quarantine, business disruption considerations and remuneration for testing clinics and other system expansions to respond to the COVID-19 situation. While we have seen other provinces introduce measures and implement new tariffs on many of these issues, we are still waiting in Manitoba. We have had constructive discussions with provincial officials and hope to have definitive direction for you very soon.
Please see our earlier COVID-19 updates for additional information and see our COVID-19 resources page for links to helpful resources from Shared Health, Manitoba Health and others.
If you have any concerns or issues, please contact us at covid19@doctorsmanitoba.ca