COVID-19 Update-June 4, 2021
Since our last update on Wednesday:
- Daily cases coming down: 681 new cases of COVID-19 have been identified, including 326 today. The total case count in Manitoba now stands at 52,261.
- Test positivity stable but high: the five-day test positivity rate is 11.4%, down from 11.5%. It is 13% in Winnipeg, up from 12.9%.
- Active cases down slightly: There are 4,191 active COVID-19 cases province-wide, down from 4,267.
- Hospitalizations remain high: There are 293 people in Manitoba hospitals due to COVID-19, down from 294. This includes 65 people in Manitoba ICUs, down from 69. There are also at at least 41 Manitoba patients in ICUs in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta, for a total of 106 Manitoban COVID-19 patients in ICUs.
- Nine new deaths were identified yesterday related to COVID-19, including four deaths reported today. The total number of deaths is now 1,071.
As noted above, hospitalizations remain high. Even if the third wave has peaked for new cases, a high volume of hospital admissions will likely continue for a couple of weeks. Manitoba continues to rely on out-of-province ICU capacity to care for critically ill patients. To date, over 52 patients have been transferred to Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta. We continue to monitor the hospital pressures closely, and we invite hospital-based physicians to stay in touch with concerns and questions by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yesterday, the province confirmed that schools in Winnipeg, Brandon, Garden Valley and Red River Valley school divisions will remain in remote learning for the remainder of the school year. Schools in these communities may schedule opportunities for teachers and small groups of students to meet in person, starting June 14.
“While our case counts are starting to move in the right direction, test positivity rates and the number of cases in hospital and ICU are still too high to broadly reopen schools in certain parts of the province,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer. “These changes will allow schools in remote learning to work with students and assess their progress while ensuring large numbers of people aren’t gathering.”
Heat Wave Support
Public health issued amendments to restrictions to provide for cool-down options for households that do not have heat relief options in their home, such as air conditioning or a pool.
The amendments, in place until June 12, will allow:
- Municipalities will be temporarily permitted to repurpose facilities such as libraries and community centres as cooling centres, as well as using shade tents, transit buses and overnight shelters to offer relief
- Outdoor pools and splashpads to open at hotels, campgrounds and other private businesses
Restrictions on gatherings and interactions with people from other households continue to apply.
Help Address Vaccine Hesitancy!
Physicians are addressing vaccine hesitancy every day with individual patients, and we’re looking for doctors to help in different way for the month of June. Your help, as trusted sources, couldn’t be more important at this stage.
Vaccine Town Halls
We will be planning a series of town halls this month to respond to public questions and concerns about the COVID-19 vaccines.
Are you interested? Read more below, and email us this weekend at email@example.com to express your interest.
The town halls will be conducted virtually with a panel of physicians. Individuals can submit questions in advance, or live during the event. The host will pose questions to the panel for response, to help encourage vaccine uptake.
If you are interested in being a panel member, you would be invited to join an orientation session this Thursday, June 10, at 5PM. The dates for the town halls are still being finalized.
We want to ensure the panels are inclusive and represent Manitoba’s diversity.
Town halls are being considered for:
- General audiences
- Youth and parents
- Steinbach and surrounding areas
- Morden/Winkler and surrounding areas
- Ethnocultural communities with lower vaccine uptake or higher COVID-19 infection rates
We have started another digital campaign that is more targeted to supporting the vaccine hesitant. The focus is on providing answers from trusted sources: physicians. Please watch our social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and share, retweet and repost what you see. Next week, we will share images and sample social media posts.
We’ve also updated the Q&As at ManitobaVaccine.ca with the help of a panel of physicians, and we’ve made them easier to navigate and search. The new function also allows us to monitor what people are searching for. So far, we can see a lot of questions about how to access the vaccine, side effects, effectiveness, and safety during breastfeeding.
Please consider sharing ManitobaVaccine.ca with your patient roster, on clinic websites and social media to help spread trusted answers.
Eligibility for second doses expanded today to include anyone who received their first dose on or before April 25. You can view full eligibility at ManitobaVaccine.ca.
Over 900,000 doses have now been administered in Manitoba. So far, 64.4% of individuals age 12 and older have received at least one shot. This includes 11.1% who have received two doses.
mRNA Vaccines in Doctors’ Offices
Doctors’ offices will finally start receiving a more regular supply of COVID-19 vaccines. With more stability and increased supply for both Moderna and Pfizer, the provincial vaccine t ask force will begin shifting more doses to clinics and pharmacies, and away from super sites and pop-up clinics.
→ You can still apply to receive vaccine in your office. Pediatricians, in particular, may wish to apply now that Pfizer is approved for ages 12 to 17. Learn more here and apply to Manitoba Health here. If you apply, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know.
The new approach to vaccines distribution will divide participating clinics and pharmacies into two groups. Locations in each group will be able to order vaccine and receive supply every second weeks.
Orders should reflect what can be used within 7 days of delivery.
We understand the ordering and delivery timeline will occur over two weeks:
|Group A||Group B|
|Week 1 (Monday): orders open, must be submitted by Wednesday|
|Week 1 (Friday): clinics advised of vaccine allocation and delivery window|
|Week 2: Deliveries start. Wed-Fri for Pfizer and Fri to following Mon/Tue for Moderna||Week 2 (Monday): orders open, must be submitted by Wednesday|
|Week 2 (Friday): clinics advised of vaccine allocation and delivery window|
|Week 3: Deliveries start. Wed-Fri for Pfizer and Fri to following Mon/Tue for Moderna|
If the vaccine supply is less than the doses ordered, the available supply will be distributed in an equitable way. This is possible the first few weeks with only about 5,000 — 6,000 doses available per week. We are told this will increase assuming vaccine supplies continue to come to Manitoba. These vaccines can be used for first or second doses with the same eligibility as super sites and pop up clinics.
Patients can receive their second dose of vaccine anywhere, regardless of where they received their first dose. This means that clients who received a first dose at a medical clinic or pharmacy can receive a second dose at a supersite or pop-up, or vice versa.
District Elections — St. Boniface and Grace
If you are a member of either the St. Boniface District or the Grace District, you recently received a letter with instructions on how to cast your District Representative ballot electronically. It is important, now more than ever, to have a strong voice for your district. District Representatives sit on the Board of Directors and make key decisions on behalf of the membership and their constituents. These decisions are driven by our mission to support the whole physician.
If you have not received the letter or need the information again, please contact Leanne Muir at email@example.com.
Mentor Orientation Webinar
On June 15 and 17, Doctors Manitoba and CMA-Joule will be hosting an Introductory webinar for Mentors. This session will offer an introduction to the PLI Courses being offered as Mentor Training, and provide a look ahead to the next steps of Medical Learner Mentorship Program.
We’ve consulted physicians on a number of topics latest, and there is a theme: one of physicians top concerns is the nursing shortage and how their nursing colleagues are being stretched too thin right now.
- Critical care specialists have told us a lack of nurses is a key limiting factor in opening more ICU beds.
- ER physicians have raised concerns about the vacancy rate for emergency nurses, and worried the shortage will affect patient care.
- Surgeons have identified the nursing shortage as they top barrier to addressing the surgery backlog.
We’ve also heard that this shortage was not created by the pandemic, it started before anyone had heard of COVID-19. But, the demands on the health system during the pandemic has only made the situation worse.
While Doctors Manitoba isn’t in a position to wade into another union’s contract negotiations, we can show our support for nurses in other ways. We invite you to join Doctors Manitoba in showing our support for nurses on social media. Please report or retweet our posts, or post your own messages of support. Sample social media posts and images can be found below.
Sample Social Media Posts
Doctors value and appreciate Manitoba’s nurses’ expertise, dedication and compassion. But today, there’s a critical nursing shortage and that affects patients and physicians every day.
Manitobans rely on nurses as part of a comprehensive health care team, but Doctors are worried nurses have been stretched too thin through the pandemic.
Social Media Images
Thank You from Grade 5 and 6 Students!
Thank you to students in Ms. Mcgregor’s grade 5/6 class at Inkster School who sent messages of support this week for physicians. We can all learn a little something from these students!
Today, we want to share a message from Brendan, a grade 5 student: