COVID-19 Update March 23


Situation Update

As of noon today, Manitoba has 20 confirmed cases. One probable case reported previously has been ruled out, with a new probable case reported today. All 20 probable and confirmed cases appear to be linked to travel.

Travel restrictions are now expanded to include domestic travel. Public health officials advised there should be no non-essential travel. Anyone returning, including from destinations in other provinces, should self-isolate and self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days. This excludes commercial transportation, those working in a neighbouring jurisdiction or cottage travel to border communities.

Physicians returning from domestic and international travel must self-identify to occupational health services for advice. Those working within an RHA system should contact their internal occupational health number for advice. Other physicians should contact provincial Occupational Health Services at 1-888-203-4066 for guidance on returning to work.

Individuals can now get screened on the phone in addition to the online screening tool launched last week. The screening tools should be used before calling Health Links to help reduce wait times to speak with a nurse. The phone screening tool is available at 1-877-308-9038 and uses interactive voice response technology to mimic the online tool introduced last week.

You can view today’s provincial bulletin as well as the province’s COVID-19 site for any late-day updates.

Need Help? Medical Students here to help!

Medical students have been impacted by COVID-19, with a disruption in their studies and clerkships. They are generously offering their time to help physicians, including residents, across the province. This includes child care, dog walking or help with a pet and grocery shopping. Medical students are being mindful of public health advice and will pair with physicians requesting their help for continuity and to minimize contacts.

These services are being offered free of charge. Doctors Manitoba encourages members to consider making a donation to MMSA, who will make a contribution to a charity of their choice at a later date.

Child Care: with schools canceled and many day cares closed, students can help with child care gaps. One student will be paired with one physician family to reduce the risk of community spread. Volunteers are limited so please explore other child care options first.

Other help: What about help with your pets or getting to the grocery store? MMSA students have you covered. Volunteers are eager to walk your dog or meet the cat who owns your home. Students who are caring for pets will also be paired with a single physician family to reduce the risk of transmission. Grocery runs will be arranged. Please note that any direct costs anticipated from providing services (e.g. if the volunteer initially pays for the groceries on your behalf) should be reimbursed directly to the volunteer, who will keep a receipt.

To request help from a student volunteer: Complete their online intake form and then complete their waiver form and email to MbMed4HCP@gmail.com .

If you have any questions please email MbMed4HCP@gmail.com

Thank you to the medical students for supporting physicians in our province!

This complements a broader volunteer matching service launched by the provincial government today to connect those looking to help with those needing assistance. Help Next Door MB was launched today to match volunteers with Manitobans needing help with everyday tasks.

Keep your clinic open

We are hearing reports from physicians that many patients are canceling appointments or not booking. This is likely occurring as patients try to live the social distancing advice, or because they perceive medical clinics as a risky location to contract COVID-19.

Doctors Manitoba is supporting you in keeping your clinic open. A one-page checklist for clinics was created last week, offering guidance on what to do to lower the risk of COVID-19 in your clinic, as well as how to restructure your operations including integrating virtual visits to reduce traffic into the office.

Dr. Fourie Smith, President of Doctors Manitoba, spoke to media on Friday, reminding patients that other health concerns do not take a break during the pandemic, and neither do family physicians:

“We’ve all been told to avoid each other as much as possible and to keep your social distancing, which is all quite appropriate. But what we maybe haven’t done is remind Manitobans that most clinics remain open and they should not stop getting treatment for their medical conditions. Doctors are not running for cover right now. We are still here for you.”

Physicians are also reminded that CPSM requires physicians to continue to care for their patients and provide care to other patients during a pandemic. Review CPSM’s commentary for more information.

Doctors Manitoba will continue looking for opportunities to remind the public to seek care when they need it and not put their health at risk.

Other Updates

  • Physicians are reminded to review the existing personal protective equipment (PPE) recommendations, as well as the recommendations for patients with symptoms who enter your clinic or facility. Patients with symptoms should be given a mask and asked to immediately clean their hands. We have raised concerns with Shared Health from some members about response times and completeness of their order. In the meantime, continue to order what you need through  Shared Health Logistics at 204-926-6050 or 1-877-477-4773.
  • A new screening and testing fact sheet for Manitobans has been created and is worth reviewing. Physicians can refer directly to the screening and testing clinics and there is no need to call ahead. However please ensure you are familiar with current screening protocols
  • CPSM has issued a new FAQ on COVID-19, including questions about practicing outside your normal scope and PPE. Their first FAQ covered staying up-to-date on coronavirus, virtual care and professional obligations during a pandemic.

Staying well during the pandemic

A reminder to physicians to focus on their own physical and mental health during the pandemic. Doctors Manitoba created a short checklist you should review today, and we have existing health and wellness programming you can use at any time if you need help.

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