COVID-19 Update – January 15

Situation Update

Since our update yesterday, 191 new cases of COVID-19 have been identified. This brings the total case count in Manitoba to 27,145.

The five-day test positivity rates are essentially unchanged from yesterday, at 10% provincially and 7.2% in Winnipeg.

There are currently 2,907 active COVID-19 cases, up slightly from 2,866. This includes 284 COVID patients in hospital today, down from 290, with 35 patients in ICU.

The majority of cases reported today were again in Northern Manitoba.

Five more COVID-related deaths were announced today. So far, 760 Manitobans have died from COVID-19.

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

Restrictions Consultation

With current public health restrictions set to expire on January 22, the province launched a survey today to seek feedback from Manitobans about their views on easing restrictions. Based on gradually improving surveillance results, “Manitoba is now in a place where it can consider reducing some restrictions to safely restore services and activities.”

The provincial survey is quite lengthy and could take 15-20 minutes to complete. Doctors Manitoba has created an abbreviated version of the survey for physicians so you can share your views on the issues we believe are most important or sensitive to the medical community.

Please complete the Doctors Manitoba version of the survey on restrictions by this Sunday and we will provide the medical feedback on the proposed restriction changes to Dr. Roussin and other officials on Monday for their consideration.

Physicians have already shared some views with Doctors Manitoba about the public health restrictions. Many are worried easing the restrictions too soon could cause more severe illness and overrun vulnerable hospitals, noting the ICUs are still overcapacity today. Some also pointed out the serious mental health, social and economic impacts the restrictions can have on Manitobans and want to ensure a balanced and targeted approach that minimizes these impacts while also stopping the spread of the virus.

Dr. Brent Roussin noted today that the current code red restrictions, while difficult, have worked. Public health estimates that the restrictions saved 1,700 lives between November 12 and January 3. Officials compared our actual experience during this period — 542 deaths — with the trajectory Manitoba was on to calculate this estimate.

The Premier emphasized the province will likely take a cautious approach, to avoid a “yo-yo” effect of easing and reinstating restrictions. He stated there “won’t be and cannot be a quick return to normal.”

You can review the provincial news release on the consultation for more background. Physicians interested in taking the full provincial survey can do so here, but Doctors Manitoba will not have a record of this response to include with the views of the medical community.

Vaccine Update

There are no changes to eligibility for the vaccine today, but the province has paused accepting any new appointments at this time. The suspension occurred because Pfizer shipments to Canada are expected to be disrupted due to production pauses in Belgium.

Existing appointments are not affected, nor is Manitoba’s plan to continue immunizing PCH residents.

So far, 13,439 doses have been administered in Manitoba, which includes 2,138 people who have no received their second dose.