COVID-19 Update March 25

Situation Update

Manitoba officials announced 14 new COVID-19 cases today bringing the total of confirmed and probable cases in Manitoba to 35 as of late this afternoon. One patient is in critical condition in ICU and one case is a child under 10. The cases appear to be related to travel, or contact with returning travelers. At this time, it is not considered community transmission, as the chain of transmission is known.

Cadham Lab has implemented a workaround to increase testing capacity during the worldwide reagent shortage.

The provincial government also issued an appeal today to businesses for medical supplies including pivoting their operations to manufacture needed supplies, such as masks, gloves, swabs and hand sanitizer.

Federally, the government has now made self-isolation following internationally travel mandatory under the Quarantine Act. The House of Commons passed a COVID-19 aid package proposed by the government.

View today’s provincial bulletin and the appeal for supplies and more information.

Physicians as Employers

Many physicians wear two hats: doctor and employer. This is no easy feat at the best of times, let alone during a public health emergency and economic period that are both frequently described as unprecedented.

If this keeps you up at night, you are not alone. You may wonder what to do if you or your staff become ill and have to self-isolate. Or worry about visits declining and being forced to consider reducing your workforce. And what about your professional obligations? 

It is a balancing act to say the least. Doctors Manitoba has prepared some guidance for you as we all navigate these uncharted waters together.

Pharmacare

Your patients may find themselves with reduced income and without workplace drug coverage. April 1 marks the beginning of a new year for the Manitoba Pharmacare benefit, which means patients restart paying deductibles next week.

The Pharmacare deductible is based on 2018 income, but there are provisions that may help, including reducing the deductible if income has decreased substantially or paying the deductible by installments. Encourage your patients to read more online or call the Pharmacare office at 204-786-7141 or 1-800-297-8099.

The provincial government is freezing deductibles this year to avoid the annual increase in maximum deductibles for patients.

Offering Help

Medical students have offered to help physicians with child care, pet care and grocery shopping. You can request their help by completing their online intake form and then complete their waiver form and email to MbMed4HCP@gmail.com.

Nearly 200 physicians have offered to help in screening clinics and other parts of the health care system. Add your name to the list today

Physicians Traveling to Manitoba to Work

Physicians who live in other jurisdictions and travel to Manitoba to work are reminded to check with their RHA or employer to ensure they are eligible to work. The most recent public health advice now recommends self-isolation after inter-provincial travel with some exceptions.