COVID-19 Update – December 11

Situation Update

There were 447 new cases of COVID-19 announced, bringing the total case count in Manitoba to 20,392.

The five-day test positivity rate is 13.8%, up from from 13.3%. In Winnipeg, the test positivity rate is 13.2%.

There are currently 5,517 active cases today, up slightly from 5,380 yesterday. This includes 297 infectious patients in hospital, and 40 in ICU.

Fourteen more COVID-related deaths were announced today. So far, 465 Manitobans have died from COVID-19.

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

Dr. Brent Roussin emphasized today that 7.5% of COVID cases experience a severe outcome, such as hospitalization, critical care or death. While our numbers have largely flattened, they are too high when one considers the serious impact this virus can have.

Shared Health provided further details on hospitalization statistics today, an issue that has been concerning to many physicians. The official numbers reported daily include “active” or “infectious” hospital and ICU patients. Some worried this was downplaying the magnitude of the pressures on hospital resources, so a more complete picture was provided today:

  • 388 patients are in hospital today due to COVID, which includes 298 still considered active and 90 others that are no longer infectious but still require hospital care.
  • 53 patients are in ICUs, with 40 considered active and 13 that are no longer infectious.

Officials emphasized that some patients require lengthy hospital and ICU stays to recover from COVID-19 beyond their infectious period.

The virus continues to appear in health facilities. As of today, there are 14 outbreaks in 9 hospitals and 52 PCHs with active outbreaks.

Students and the Holidays

Provincial officials also clarified today what the current orders mean for students over the holiday break.

For students studying outside of Manitoba, the same quarantine or isolation rules apply. While non-essential travel outside of or back to Manitoba is discouraged, Dr. Roussin pointed out that it does not violate the orders to return to your permanent home, especially considering many university residences do not stay open over the holidays. However, students returning from outside of Canada or from Eastern Canada must isolate for 14 days are required to isolate and that includes avoiding close contact with others in the household during your isolation period.

Some have asked about local children socializing within their school cohorts over the holiday break. Dr. Roussin clarified that indoor gatherings with others outside of your household are not permitted, even with students from within the school cohort. However, outdoor gatherings that follow the orders, such as groups under five with physical distancing, are permitted.

The New Doctors Manitoba

Yesterday evening, we unveiled the New Doctors Manitoba, including a new logo and new colours. 

Following the broadest consultation with members in our history, Doctors Manitoba launched a new strategic plan last year with a new mission to strengthen and support the whole physician. As Dr. Cory Baillie, our President, also explained last night, we heard from members loud and clear that they want their association to be more visible and to be more courageous with our advocacy on behalf of physicians.

We’ve been walking that talk for several months now as we’ve fought for what physicians need during this pandemic. And now, we have a new new look to back it up!

Dr. Baillie explained that “we’ve embraced bold new contemporary colours to help us stand out. And we’ve incorporated a stylized lifeline, because all of us, regardless of our specialty, work to better our patients lives.”

We also shared a one-minute video about Doctors Manitoba and who we are. We hope you’ll watch it, and know that on your journey as a physician, we are with you every step of the way.

Seven Outstanding Physicians Honoured

Last night, over 700 people gathered virtually to recognize and honour seven inspirational physicians with Doctors Manitoba awards.

Dr. Cory Baillie, President of Doctors Manitoba, noted the 2020 award winners were selected before the pandemic. He pointed out, however that “their commitment and achievements are a source of inspiration for all physicians as we find our way through this crisis.”

Dr. Michael Boroditsky, Chair of the Doctors Manitoba Awards Committee, explained that the award winners were nominated and selected by their peers. “We were not able to gather last May for our annual gala,” noted Dr. Boroditsky, “but the pandemic could not get in the way of celebrating this year’s outstanding award winners.”

For each award winner, click on their name to watch a short video about them featured during our event last night. You’ll also find links to each award winner’s full acceptance speech.

Dr. Ken von Kuster as Physician of the Year. Dr. Kuster is an anatomical pathologist based at Victoria Hospital. He took the initiative to sub-specialize in dermatopathology to fill a critical void in Manitoba. He is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of Manitoba.  View award video and full acceptance speech.

Dr. Sabina Ijaz with the Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Ijaz works in the Pine Falls community and is recognized for her unique contributions with and for Indigenous communities, as well as her contributions to a culturally safe and holistic practice of medicine. View award video and full acceptance speech.

Dr. Ricardo Lobato de Faria with the Health Administration Award. As an innovator in emergency medicine, Dr. Lobato de Faria is recognized for his nearly two decades of leadership at Seven Oaks General Hospital and the improvements to patient care that were realized during his tenure. View award video and full acceptance speech.

Dr. Heather Lehmann with the Health or Safety Promotion Award. Based in Winkler at the CW Wiebe Medical Centre, Dr. Lehmann has taken on many projects, notably using her expertise and passion for women’s and reproductive health to develop a much-needed teen clinic as part of her family medicine practice.  View award video and full acceptance speech.

Dr. Yoav Keynan with the Scholastic Award. As a clinical scientist, Dr. Keynan holds several academic appointments, including as an Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology. He is a widely-published researcher with world-renowned expertise in infectious diseases, such as HIV and influenza. View award video and full acceptance speech.

Dr. Clare Whitehead as Resident of the Year. Dr. Whitehead exemplifies the characteristics of a successful resident: strong clinical skills, enthusiastic teaching and scholarship, excellent leadership, and an unwavering commitment to her patients. Her research on the attitudes and perceptions about patients highlighted the importance of cultural safety and has led to positive changes at Children’s Hospital. View award video and full acceptance speech.

Dr. Neil Craton with the Dr. Jack Armstrong Humanitarian Award. While his work in sports medicine, including with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, is notable, it is Dr. Craton’s deep commitment to the patients of the Saul Sair Health Centre at Siloam Mission that has been recognized by his peers with this honour. The impact of his compassionate and non-judgmental care for the Siloam community is, quite simply, immeasurable. View award video and full acceptance speech.

Your Tips for Celebrating This Year

We want to hear how you are celebrating the holidays, and what tips you can offer other members and Manitobans to help them find a way to make it through the holidays without gathering with other households.

While the public health restrictions are needed this holiday season to stop the spread of COVID, nearly all physicians are worried about compliance and concerned about Manitobans’ well-being over the next month.

Send us your tips and suggestions. Are you dropping off presents? Ordering or delivering food? Finding new ways to volunteer your time? Making donations?  What about the dreaded zoom family get together… any creative tips to make it fun and new, rather than not just another video call where someone can’t find the mute button?

Email your tips to covid19@doctorsmanitoba.ca. We will feature some of these tips for all members, and for Manitobans to help them find ways to stay connected with family and friends this month.

In Case You Missed It

Three quick updates for your review over the weekend, in case you missed them this week!

1. Isolation Support applications now open.

You can now apply for the new COVID-19 Isolation Support benefit for physicians using our online application form. If you’ve had to isolate due to COVID-19 symptoms, diagnosis or a work-related exposure, learn more about the eligibility for this benefit and how to apply. We have created a streamlined application process so we can quickly review your application and validate your eligibility against the criteria set by Manitoba Health. Learn more, and apply today

2. Vaccine Survey and Update

Complete our quick survey to help us understand what physicians need when it comes to the COVID vaccine. Do you need information and resources to help advise your patients? Do you need to know how prioritized at-risk patients will be identified for immunization? Are you interested in playing a role in delivering the COVID vaccine?

Take our survey now, so Doctors Manitoba is well-positioned to advocate for what physicians need now and over the next few months as the vaccine starts rolling out.

3. Supporting Manitobans Through Holiday Restrictions

With restrictions now extended through the holidays to early January, we want to hear from you. Let us know if you are worried about compliance with the orders, how worried you are about your patients well-being through this difficult period, and what supports could help Manitobans make it through the holidays with these restrictions in place.

Take our short survey to share your views.

Take the Make it Safe to Ask challenge.

All physicians are encouraged to complete the 4 question Self Assessment Survey to assess knowledge and behaviour in their practice around patient communication, health literacy, patient advocacy and patient engagement.

To find out more about how you can, through simple and quick techniques, “tweak” your daily practice that will have positive impacts on your patient’s healthcare visit, follow this link Make it Safe to Ask toolkit.

This is a collaborative initiative between the Manitoba Institute for Patient Safety (MIPS) and Manitoba Physicians