COVID-19 Update-April 9, 2021
Today, public health drew attention to increasing cases and variants of concern in Manitoba. Dr. Joss Reimer, Medical Officer of Health, confirmed that public health officials now view that “we are in the beginnings of a third wave in Manitoba.” Following the Situation Update, you will see an invitation to a webinar with Dr. Brent Roussin where he will discuss this and take questions from physicians.
COVID-19 Surveillance Update
Since our last update on Tuesday:
- Daily cases up: Another 420 new cases of COVID-19 have been identified, including 179 today. This brings the total case count in Manitoba to 34,969.
- Test positivity up: The five-day test positivity rate is 5.5%, up from 5.3%. It is 5.1% in Winnipeg, up from from 4.3%.
- Active cases down: There are 1,180 active COVID-19 cases province-wide, down from 1,255.
- Hospitalization down: There are 136 people in hospital, down from 140. This includes 35 people in ICU.
- Seven new deaths related to COVID-19 were identified, including three today. The total number of deaths is 949.
Since Tuesday, an additional 101 variant of concern cases have been identified, including 37 today. Overall there have been a total of 376 screened or sequenced variant of concern cases, including:
- 332 of the B.1.1.7 variant (UK)
- 20 of the B.1.351 variant (South Africa)
- 24 cases that have not yet been categorized
Yesterday, Manitoba reported its first death involving a variant of concern. The death occurred in late March and has since been linked to the B.1.1.7 variant. The individual was a male in his 70s from Winnipeg.
Vaccine Situation Update
- 259,847 doses have been administered, up from 216,718 on Tuesday.
- 15.7% of Manitoba adults have received their first vaccination, up from 14.3%
- Eligibility expanded today to those age 60 and older, or 40 and older among First Nations people for government-run super sites and pop up clinics. Pop-up clinics have been planned for April in a number of rural communities.
- At medical clinics and pharmacies, eligibility includes people aged 55 to 64 with specific high-risk health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19, as well as all people aged 65 and older, with priority given to people who might be unable to attend a super site or pop-up clinic.
Over 54,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine were delivered to medical clinics and pharmacies this week. The province was expecting another 11,500 doses by today and another 36,000 by mid April, but both of these shipments are now delayed, leaving some clinics with no supply while waiting for doses from these shipments. We understand provincial officials are working on plans to allocate a smaller amount of doses to these clinics than originally planned.
We met with vaccine task force officials earlier today to share feedback from physicians participating in rollout, and offered advice about improving communications and allocating more doses to medical clinics so the vaccine can reach more of the individuals at increased risk due to high-risk medical conditions.
We also heard today that a second super site immunization centre will open in Winnipeg on May 7. It will be located at the Winnipeg Soccer Federation – Soccer North complex on Leila Avenue with capacity similar to the RBC Convention Centre site.
Doctors Manitoba continues to maintain two important vaccine resources:
- For physicians: Our Vaccine Resource Centre includes resources and information, including sample patient messaging, a billing guide, a vaccine hesitancy guide and more.
- For your patients: Our public vaccine hub, ManitobaVaccine.ca, continues to offer your patients answers to common vaccine questions, including when individuals will become eligible.
We are pleased to announce a special town hall for physicians with Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s Chief Provincial Public Health Officer, and our President, Dr. Cory Baillie. The session will be held on Thursday, April 22.
With Manitoba seeing signs of a third wave now emerging, Doctors Manitoba has planned this webinar to provide physicians with a medical briefing from Dr. Roussin along with a Q&A. This timely update will include:
- Current epidemiology
- What we know about the variants of concern in Manitoba
- Public health measures
- What the future may bring
When: Thursday, April 22, 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Register: Click here to register in advance
When you register, you can submit questions in advance for the town hall. You’ll also have the opportunity to submit questions during the webinar as well.
We are also working on a town hall on the immunization rollout with Dr. Joss Reimer, Medical Lead with the vaccine implementation task force, and we’ve requested a session to provide an update on health system readiness from Shared Health. Stay tuned for more information.
Following a lot of questions and concerns about delaying the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has reviewed the evidence, considered the supply and is sticking with the advice to delay the second dose of the vaccine up to four months.
The focus now, NACI recommends, is to get as many people their first dose as quickly as possible to ensure maximum protection across the population. This would offer protection to various population groups that are considered at elevated risk, such as essential workers.
Second doses should be offered as soon as possible after all eligible populations have been offered first doses, with priority given to those at highest risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19. It is likely all adults could become eligible for their first dose by mid-June.
“In making its recommendations, NACI carefully considered all available evidence about how well the COVID-19 vaccines work, as well as mathematical modelling, vaccine supply and public health principles of equity, feasibility and acceptability. Current real-world evidence indicate good vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease and asymptomatic infection and very good effectiveness against hospitalization after the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines.”
Real-world observational studies have found the vaccines to still be 70 – 80% effective against symptomatic disease and asymptotic infection after the first dose.
You can read NACI’s full recommendations with the evidence and rationale here.
Doctors Manitoba would like to remind members that we still have NIOSH certified Dasheng DTC3Z N95 masks in stock for purchase. These masks require fit testing. To order, please visit our PPE page to place an order request or email PPEconcerns@doctorsmanitoba.ca for additional information.
The Manitoba Institute for Patient Safety will be offering a webinar aimed at helping physicians improve communication with their patients, making sure it is safer and more effective. The Webinar, titled “Is it ‘Safe to Ask’ You?”, takes place May 26, 2021 from 6 – 7 p.m. You can register here.