COVID-19 Update — June 2, 2021
COVID-19 Surveillance update:
Since our last update on Monday:
- Daily cases coming down: 490 new cases of COVID-19 have been identified, including 267 today. While new cases seem to be coming down, they are still very high. The total case count in Manitoba now stands at 51,580.
- Test positivity down again: the five-day test positivity rate is 11.5%, down from 12.1%. It is 12.9% in Winnipeg, down from 13.7%.
- Active cases down slightly: There are 4,267 active COVID-19 cases province-wide, down from 4,504. This number is likely overstated as contact tracers focus on new cases and not updating patients’ status from active to recovered.
- Hospitalizations remain high: There are 294 people in Manitoba hospitals due to COVID-19, down from 308. This includes 69 people in Manitoba ICUs, down from 71. There are also at least 40 Manitoba patients in ICUs in Ontario and Saskatchewan, for a total of 109 Manitoban COVID-19 patients in ICUs. Shared Health confirmed that Alberta will accept up to 10 ICU patients from Manitoba if needed.
- Nine new deaths were identified yesterday related to COVID-19, including six deaths reported today. The total number of deaths is now 1,062.
Vaccine Update — more mRNA to clinics coming soon!
Eligibility for second doses expanded today to include individuals who received their first dose on or before April 20. We continue to update ManitobaVaccine.ca with public information about eligibility, as well as new Q&As.
The vaccine task force will start to send regular shipments of mRNA vaccines, including both Moderna and Pfizer, to medical clinics and pharmacies later this month. This will be a major shift in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in Manitoba, with provincial officials recognizing that physicians will be key in reaching the hesitant.
In the meantime, we are told Manitoba Health is prioritizing getting Moderna doses to the clinics that received the initial shipment of AstraZeneca as those patients are nearing the 12-week mark for their second dose.
Officials also confirmed that 5,000 doses of Moderna are being sent this week to 25 clinics and pharmacies to be used for first and second doses. Doctors Manitoba continues to work with provincial officials to advocate for an increase in doses and regular shipments to meet patient needs.
NACI agrees on mixing doses
After Manitoba announced Monday its recommendation for second doses following the first dose of AstraZeneca, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) updated its guidelines yesterday.
In certain situations, NACI now recommends interchanging AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines:
- A first shot of AstraZeneca can be followed by a second shot of either Moderna or Pfizer
- A first shot of Pfizer or Moderna can be followed by a second shot of either product if the same first dose is unavailable or unknown.
NACI referenced emerging research from Spain and the UK that found mixing doses was both safe and effective at preventing COVID-19.
Dr. Theresa Tam emphasized this is not a new approach, and that mixed dosing has been used for years for other type of vaccines, such as influenza and Hepatitis A.
It was also reported that people who received two different vaccines doses will be recognized as fully vaccinated, including by other countries.
If any Manitoban was immunized outside of Manitoba, they are encouraged to share proof of their vaccination with their local public health office. A list of locations can be found here. Public health will enter this into the Public Health Information Management System (PHIMS).
You can review the full NACI document on mixed doses here.
Vaccine Counseling — Billing Clarification
Manitoba Health has asked that we issue a reminder to physicians about billing the correct tariff for patient visits that offer vaccine information and counseling.
The new tariff codes were established for the actual COVID-19 vaccine injections, with unique tariffs created for each vaccine product. These tariffs should only be used when a dose is administered, as they are used to track overall vaccination rates.
Please refer to the Doctors Manitoba Billing Guide for Vaccine Injections and Visits for advice on billing for virtual or in-person visits about the vaccine.
Jets Tickets Available This Friday
Doctors Manitoba is again passing on an invitation to physicians to enter a draw for complementary Winnipeg Jets tickets for Game 2, this Friday, June 4. The initiative is being led by the Winnipeg Jets and Shared Health.
Enter by Thursday Night!
If you are a fully vaccinated health care worker, and you are able to arrive for the game on Friday at 5PM, please consider entering.
The Winnipeg Jets and True North Sports and Entertainment are pleased to offer Manitoba Health Care Heroes the opportunity to attend a Winnipeg Jets Playoff Game.
Tickets are limited for the event, which is being held in accordance with all Public Health requirements. This is an initiative to recognize the contributions of physicians and other health care workers during the pandemic, and to help demonstrate to Manitobans what is possible as more become fully vaccinated.
Doctors Manitoba is collecting entries to protect your privacy. We will draw names for the number of seats allocated for physicians and submit only the names of winners to Shared Health and the Winnipeg Jets.
Please review this message and follow the link at the end to enter. You must enter by Friday, June 4 at 8:00 a.m.
Single seat tickets will be issued Friday afternoon via email to successful health care workers. If you are selected, you would attend alone. Masks must be worn at all times and concessions will not be opened.
Please read the following eligibility information and enter your name and email for a chance at being selected.
- Be health care workers in Manitoba’s health system, with a current health system photo identification;
- Have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, including a second dose more than 14 days ago;
- Be willing to show proof of vaccination status prior to entry, either by printing and bringing a copy of your COVID-19 Vaccine Status OR by showing your Vaccine Status in the COVID-19 Results Portal https://shcord.verosource.com/… upon arrival
- Be able to attend tomorrow’s game, with entry beginning at 5 p.m.
Full details will be shared by True North Sports and Entertainment by email in advance of the game.
We have heard from a number of members who did not receive last night’s notice about the Jets draw. We are looking in to each of these. Please contact us if you did not receive the notice so we can work on addressing the issue.
Concerned about this initiative?
We understand some physicians may be concerned about this initiative, worried it sends the wrong message at the wrong time.
Shared Health and the Jets have organized this initiative. Doctors Manitoba is accepting entries to ensure physicians are not left out of this opportunity, and to protect their privacy.
The timing is difficult. ICUs continue to be over capacity with more than three dozen patients receiving critical care in other provinces. All Manitobans are subject to tough restrictions that prohibit social gatherings and sporting events. We understand both the Jets and Shared Health are using this as an opportunity to reinforce that a return to normal is possible by following public health guidance and by getting vaccinated, along with showing appreciation for health care workers, and that was important as we considered accepting physician entries on their behalf.
For the game tonight, nearly 700 physicians entered the draw from a variety of community and acute care settings, including emergency and critical care.
Role modeling the right thing to do is challenging at the best of times. Physicians are always looked up to as role models in our society, and that is especially true during this pandemic. Doctors Manitoba respects physicians who do not want to enter because they are concerned about the timing or message this can send. We also respect those who want to attend the game and use this as an opportunity to offer Manitobans a hopeful view of what will come by following the rules and getting immunized. We have heard from many physicians who see this as an opportunity to remind those Manitobans who may no longer be complying with public health orders that there is a more constructive path back to a more normal way of life.
We encourage all physicians to respect each others’ decisions, especially in public settings such as social media.
Whether you agree with this initiative or not, you have the respect and appreciation of the team at Doctors Manitoba. We are fueled by your passion for excellent patient care, and we’ve never been more motivated to fight for what you need to care for your patients.
Please continue to stay in touch and share your views by contacting us at email@example.com.
Medical Lead Position
Doctors Manitoba is looking for a Medical Lead for our Physician Health & Wellness portfolio. This position has been created to provide strategic direction in the area of physician health and to provide individual and group based peer support in collaboration with the Physicians at Risk (PAR) program. Supported by the CEO, senior staff and a committed PHW Committee, the role is part time (8−12 hours per week). You can view the posting here. Please share it with others who might be a good fit for the position. Applications must be received by June 9, 2021.