COVID-19 Update — June 15, 2021
COVID Surveillance Update
- Daily cases continue to come down: 724 new cases of COVID-19 have been identified, including 116 today. The total case count in Manitoba now stands at 54,596.
- Test positivity decreasing: the five-day test positivity rate is 10.6%, unchanged form Friday. It is 9.9% in Winnipeg, down from 11.0%.
- Active cases down: There are 2,972 active COVID-19 cases province-wide, down from 3,490.
- Hospitalizations remain high: There are 290 people in Manitoba hospitals due to COVID-19, up from 276. This includes 63 COVID-related patients in Manitoba ICUs, unchanged from Friday. There are also 24 Manitoba patients in out-of-province ICUs, down from 30 on Friday.
Vaccine eligibility for second doses has been expanded to include everyone who received their first dose on or before May 10. Indigenous Manitobans and those with specific high risk medical conditions are also eligible, even if they received their first dose after this date. We maintain up-to-date eligibility at our vaccine site: ManitobaVaccine.ca.
With more Moderna arriving in Manitoba, we understand clinics are receiving larger shipments than we had originally heard would be available this month. We have also heard a few clinics are receiving Pfizer this week as pilot, which is another significant step forward on medical clinic-based vaccination against COVID-19.
Participating clinics are reminded to keep their status up-to-date on the public vaccine finder maps on both the government and Doctors Manitoba ManitobaVaccine.ca websites. We also continue to have stickers available for patients in our office, which you can order by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another vaccine is moving closer to approval. Results from a U.S. Phase 3 clinical trial of Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine were released this week, finding the two-dose protein sub-unit vaccine is 90% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 disease and 100% protection against moderate and severe disease. The vaccine can be stored in fridge temperatures, making storage and transportation easier than mRNA vaccines. It’s anticipated this type of vaccine may be used first in low- and middle-income nations.
Border Closure and Travel Update
The Ontario-Manitoba border is expected to reopen tomorrow, allowing Manitobans with family or cottages in Ontario to visit once again. While fully vaccinated asymptomatic individuals are no longer required to self-isolate following domestic out-of-province travel, the exemption from self-isolation will also apply to property-owners returning to Manitoba from cottages in northwestern Ontario.
Shared Health and Public Health have updated their travel guidance for physicians and healthcare workers. Aligning with new rules for all Manitobans, physicians who return from travel within Canada do not have to self-isolate before returning to work, assuming they are symptom-free. Self-screening must continue, and as long as physicians do not meet any criteria, they can return to work. If self-screening identifies an issue, physicians should continue contacting occupational health for guidance at 204−926−1042 or 1−888−203−4066.
Meanwhile, Canadian and US officials are meeting today to begin planning for the reopening of the border between the two nations. While it is expected the current restrictions, set to expire on June 21, will be extended again, the meetings signal an end could be in sight.
Share the News — Vaccine Town Halls!
We have planned four vaccine town halls next week, and we are asking all physicians to share the invitation widely. In addition to the message below, you can access graphics to use on social media, in emails to patients and on their clinic websites. The town halls will allow Manitobans to ask questions and raise concerns about the COVID-19 vaccines and get answers from a source they can trust: physicians.
Dr. Kristjan Thompson, President of Doctors Manitoba, emphasized the importance of supporting Manitobans who need more vaccine information.
“As doctors, we care about the health of Manitobans and we want to share what we know about the COVID-19 vaccines,” said Dr. Thompson. “Manitobans can always get advice from their physician, and now our town halls offer another option to get answers about the vaccines.”
The following town halls are planned next week:
- Town Hall for All Manitobans — June 23 at 6:30 pm
- Town Hall for Youth and Parents — June 22 at 6:30 pm
- Town Hall for Morden/Winkler and Southern Manitoba — June 21 at 6:30 pm
- Town Hall for Steinbach and Southeastern Manitoba — June 24 at 6:30 pm
Individuals will be able to send questions in advance at ManitobaVaccine.ca or submit them live during town halls, which will be broadcast on YouTube. Over 15 physicians are participating in the four town halls. A non-judgmental approach will be used, responding to questions and concerns factually and respectfully.
Dr. Thompson noted there is a lot of information circulating about the vaccines right now, some accurate and some misleading. “These are new vaccines for a new disease. It’s natural to have questions, and doctors want to share the facts so Manitobans can make an informed decision about getting immunized.”
Welcome to New Board Members
Dr. Kristjan Thompson is pleased to announce the results from the recent Doctors Manitoba Board nomination and election processes. We are pleased to welcome four new board members as representatives in the urban districts of Winnipeg.
- Dr. Erin Olivier is the new District Representative for Seven Oaks. A family medicine physician at the Kingsbury Family Medical Centre and a hospitalist at Seven Oaks Hospital, in her spare time she enjoys chasing after her four children with her husband.
- Dr. Alexis Botkin is the new District Representative for Victoria. An award-winning dermatologist at Botkin Dermatology and a published author, Dr. Botkin worked as a paramedic and ski patrol before pursuing a career in medicine.
- Dr. Heather Diamond is the District Representative for Grace. A
gynecologist working in Winnipeg and northern communities, she also
works as a clinical educator and mentor. She enjoys down time with her
husband and three sons, time at the lake, and watching the Winnipeg
- Ms. Tessa Bortoluzzi is our new liaison with Manitoba Medical Student Association (MMSA) and medical student Representative on the Doctors Manitoba Board. She currently holds the position of Vice Stick External with the MMSA.
Returning urban board members are: Dr. Michael Boroditsky (HSC), Dr. William Li (HSC), Dr. Edin Tunovic (Concordia), Dr. Ginette Poulin (Misericordia), and Dr. Randy Guzman (St. Boniface). The rural board members are: Dr. Selena Papetti (Eastman), Dr. Gerry Visser (Brandon), Dr. Joel Myhre (Parkland) Dr. Yvette Emerson (Interlake), Dr. Marie Noël (Northern), Dr. Nichelle Desilets (Assiniboine) and Dr. Erin Gordey (Central). Dr. Alon Altman will return as the representative for the University Medical Group, and Dr. David Cram as our invited guest from CMA.
You can read about our returning Board members here.
Thank you to both the new and returning urban Board members for their commitment to our vision to support all of Manitoba’s physicians and medical learners in every way possible.
The Doctors Manitoba Board of Directors includes representatives from urban and rural medical districts who serve two-year terms. Urban elections happen in even numbered calendar years, and rural elections happen in odd numbered calendar years.
Survey on Barriers to HPV Vaccination
The Urban Public Health Network has been commissioned by CPAC (the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer) to carry out the first phase of their project to eliminate cervical cancer in Canada by 2040. The focus of this phase is to understand coverage rates of HPV vaccinations in Canada and barriers for non-school aged individuals to receiving immunization.
Family physicians, obstetricians and gynecologists are asked to participate in a study, the key benefit of which is to inform local public health staff on necessary improvements and approaches to improve HPV coverage rates in your jurisdiction. The data from this survey may be used to guide a policy proposal to implement a more comprehensive catch-up program for HPV vaccination. Click here to read the participant information sheet. Click here to fill out the consent form.