COVID-19 Update-November 18

Please join us for a special event: Physicians for Physicians

(Note: COVID update follows)

Join us and your colleagues on December 10, 2020 for an uplifting evening to recognize and support the medical community during this difficult chapter of the pandemic.

When: Thursday, December 10 at 6:30 PM
Where: online virtual event
Register Now!

The virtual event will offer a break from the intense pressures of this current surge in COVID-19 cases, bringing physicians together for an exclusive event.

The evening will spotlight how physicians are being impacted by the pandemic response, while also allowing us to honour this year’s Doctors Manitoba Award recipients. Unfortunately, we were not able to celebrate these physicians at our annual awards gala in May as the pandemic disrupted so much in our lives, but we can still come together in a new way.

This year’s award winners include:

Physician of the Year – Dr. Ken Von Kuster
Distinguished Service – Dr. Sabina Ijaz
Health Administration – Dr. Ricardo Lobato de Faria
Scholastic – Dr. Yoav Keynan
Health Promotion – Dr. Heather Lehmann
Resident of the Year – Dr. Clare Whitehead
Dr. Jack Armstrong Humanitarian – Dr.  Neil Craton

We know many of you have “zoom fatigue” and might not see another virtual event as an uplifting break. While the event format will let you connect with others attending, you can also sit back, relax, and just watch.

Register today for this free event.

Thank you to our presenting sponsors, CMA, MD Financial Management and Scotiabank Healthcare+

Share Your Story About COVID

To help us understand the impact the pandemic is having on you and other physicians as we prepare for the Physicians for Physicians event, please share your story with us. Stories inform us, and stories connect us. We need to hear how COVID-19 is affecting you, or how you see it impacting a colleague, to help everyone understand the gravity of the situation, while also highlighting the amazing things physicians are doing during this crisis.

Click here to share your story.

COVID-19 Situation Update

Today, 400 new cases of COVID-19 were identified, bringing the total case count in Manitoba to date to 12,007.

The five-day test positivity rate in Manitoba is 14.2%, up from 13.6% yesterday. In Winnipeg, the test positive rate is 13.8%, up from 13.3%.

There are currently 7,385 active cases, up from 7,105 yesterday. This includes another record of 249 people in hospital, up from 240, with 40 in ICU. 

Eleven more COVID-related deaths were announced today. So far, 190 Manitobans have died from COVID-19. 

You can learn more in today’s public health bulletin.

Dr. Roussin stressed today to only leave your home for essential reasons. He also noted that Black Friday sales are not an essential reason to go out, and that you can take advantage of these sales online from home.

Health System Update

Shared Health noted that three more ICU beds have been added this week, bringing the total in operation today to 102 beds. As of this morning, 88 were occupied and 50% are now COVID-19 patients

Officials explained that in order to staff these additional ICU and medicine beds, they are relying on staff and physicians who normally work in other areas. Surgery nurses are being redeployed to medicine while OR and recovery room staff are shifting to ICU. Since October 26, 771 elective surgeries have been cancelled to support redeployment of staff.

Shared Health has also issued a call for family physicians with acute care experience interested in supporting critical care specialists. Paid orientation will be provided, however Doctors Manitoba must advise physicians that many details are not yet confirmed, and we continue to press for critical information. You should know:

  • Most physicians who sign up, exposing themselves to increased risk of infection, still have zero supports if they need to isolate or contract COVID-19.
  • PPE availability in hospital has improved, but we are still receiving concerns about pressure to re-use some supplies and N95 masks not always being available when a physician’s point-of-care judgment deems them necessary.
  • We still do not know the remuneration models for most contingency services
  • Doctors Manitoba has not seen the pandemic contingency plan despite repeated requests, so we do not know how many doctors may be needed, in what capacity, and where. 

Shared Health has also advised that Winnipeg Home Care services may be reduced, focusing on essential or urgent services only, so home care providers can be redeployed to PCHs to provide assistance there.

Are Manitobans Staying Home More?

The short answer is yes, but not enough.

Today, we issued a media release drawing attention to new Google data that suggests many Manitobans are following the newest public health direction to stay home and avoid restaurants, bars, retail stores and workplaces if possible. To them, we say thank you on behalf of all physicians.

However, the shift in behaviour is not as strong as we saw in the spring, but today we have 30 times more cases and 20 times more cases in hospital.

Dr. Kristjan Thompson, an emergency physician and President-Elect of Doctors Manitoba, spent the day doing media interviews to thank the growing number of Manitobans who are doing the right thing, and urge those who aren’t to act now.

“While it doesn’t provide a complete picture, Google’s data really tells us what we already know: many Manitobans have started to follow the advice to stay home, and yet we are still seeing packed parking lots and busy stores,” explained Dr. Kristjan Thompson, an emergency physician and President-Elect of Doctors Manitoba. “COVID-19 is an invisible fire raging out of control right in front of us. We are seeing ERs, ICUs and hospitals being overwhelmed by the current surge in cases, but we can all stop it together by staying home.”

You can read our report on how Manitobans are spending their time for more information.

This is part of our ongoing public campaign to raise awareness about the perilous state of our hospitals and the need for Manitobans to stay home to stop the spread. The campaign has already garnered over 3 million views. You can help spread the word, not the virus, using campaign images and messages. Check it out!


Town Hall with Dr. Roussin

Doctors Manitoba has arranged an exclusive town hall for physicians with Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s Chief Provincial Public Health Officer. This is an opportunity to hear the latest directly from Dr. Roussin, unfiltered and unedited, with a level of detail intended for physicians.

As cases surge and restrictions tighten, physicians are increasingly concerned about the spread of COVID-19. New evidence is emerging about this novel virus every day, with vaccine developments grabbing global headlines, along with local pleas from physicians to Manitobans to stay home and stop the spread.

Dr. Roussin will share an update on the current COVID-19 situation and respond to your questions.

When: Monday November 23 at 5:30 PM
Register: Click here to register for the zoom webinar

You can submit your questions in advance for Dr. Roussin during your registration, or email them to us at Live questions will also be accepted during the town hall.

We last held a physician town hall with Dr. Roussin in September. Over 300 physicians registered and 98% found the session helpful.