Release: Thanks for staying home, but more action needed

November 18, 2020

New data suggests more Manitobans are following public health direction to stay home and limit their contact with others, though not to the same degree as during the first wave of the pandemic last spring.

“Physicians thank those Manitobans who are staying home in growing numbers to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Cory Baillie, President of Doctors Manitoba. “While this is an encouraging trend, we need even more people to stay home and limit their interaction with those outside their household. Our hospitals are being pushed beyond their limits and that is putting everyone at risk.”

An analysis of recently updated Google Mobility data has found that Manitobans are spending more of their time at home and less in retail, recreational and work settings, especially after the latest public health direction took effect last week on November 12. However, the data also suggests that not as many Manitobans are following the public health advice as during the first wave of the pandemic last spring.

Comparing November 12 and 13, the two days of data available since the newest restrictions took effect, with a baseline period from before the pandemic began, Manitobans spent:

  • 39% less time in retail and recreational establishments, compared to the 44% drop last April,
  • 33% less time in workplaces, compared to the 46% drop in April, and
  • 17% more time at home or in residential settings, compared to the 18% increase in April.

“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, and all Manitobans can help step up and help to save lives.”

Comparing the current pandemic situation with the spring underscores just how much more urgent it is for Manitobans to stay home right now, noted Dr. Thompson. “There are 30 times more active COVID-19 cases right now than the peak from the first wave, and 20 times more cases in hospital. 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.”

Doctors Manitoba is continuing to invest in a major digital ad campaign to urge Manitobans to stay home to stop the spread. The campaign draws attention to the hospital situation and has garnered over 3 million views so far. You can learn more about the campaign at https://doctorsmanitoba.ca/stop/help/ 

Download the data report for more information on Manitobans’ mobility trends.