In today’s message:

Situation Update

Since our last update on Wednesday:

  • Daily cases up: Another 1,046 new cases of COVID-19 have been identified over the last two days, including 491 today. Yesterday was a record day, with 560 cases identified. The total case count in Manitoba now stands at 44,189.
  • Test positivity steady: The five-day test positivity rate is 11.8%, down from 12.1%. It is 14.2% in Winnipeg, down from 14.4%.
  • Active cases up: There are 4,163 active COVID-19 cases province-wide, up from our last report of 3,940.
  • Hospitalizations increasing: There are 239 people in hospital due to COVID-19, up from 221 . This includes 67 people in ICU, up from 62.
  • Two new deaths related to COVID-19 were identified, though none were reported today. The total number of deaths is 1,002.

COVID Projection Model Released

Provincial public health officials released their projection model today, and it shows that current COVID-19 spread and hospitalizations is exceeding their extreme” worst case scenario. It also projects the third wave to peak higher than the second. 

Dr. Jazz Atwal, the acting Deputy Chief Provincial Public Health Officer, presented the model and used it to reinforce just how important it is right now for Manitobans to limit their contacts, follow the public health advice and to get tested even with mild symptoms.
The extreme, worst-case scenario model shows:

  • A third wave that peaks higher and lasts longer than the second wave
  • Daily cases peak between late June and early July, with between 400 and nearly 600 cases per day and test positivity rates that could exceed 20%
  • Hospitalizations and ICU admissions peaking about two weeks later, again exceeding the second wave experience

Dr. Atwal noted that with cases exceeding the extreme projection over the last two weeks, they now believe we may see cases peak and plateau starting next week if there is better adherence with public health advice, restrictions and testing. Hospitalizations and ICU admissions would then peak a couple of weeks after. 

The projection is an agent-based model that uses hundreds of variables. They are finding the model has been underestimating our actual experience over the last few weeks, which could be due to the variants of concern. The accelerated immunization campaign is also having an impact too, and might revise and shorten the length of a third wave. 

You can view the projection model presented today here.

Age 12 and Up Eligible for Vaccine

Manitoba has now fully expanded eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines to all groups for whom vaccines are approved. The latest move today extends eligibility to individuals age 12 to 17.

A few things to note about eligibility for those between 12 and 17 years of age:

  • Only the Pfizer vaccine is approved and available to those age 12 to 17, available at most super sites and Urban Indigenous Immunization Clinics. 
  • Individuals age 16 or 17 can sign their own consent form and attend their appointment on their own, unless they are not able to comprehend the procedure due to a disability. 
  • For individuals age 12 to 15, it is preferred for parents or guardians to also attend their appointments. In the event they attend without a parent and do not have a signed consent form, the vaccine clinic staff will assess the youth’s ability to consent on their own, as is already done for other medical prescriptions or treatments.

There are about 100,000 individuals in the age 12 to 17 age cohort. Provincial officials reported over 20,000 appointments were booked in the first few hours after eligibility opened this morning. 

To accommodate the younger age cohort, the province also advised today it will be moving Pfizer and Moderna vaccines between super sites to ensure Pfizer is available to meet the demand among youth. This means some adults who were expecting Pfizer at a super site may receive Moderna, but both vaccines are mRNA vaccines and this is being done to ensure access for youth who can only receive one type of vaccine right now.

Mentorship Program Rebooted

Doctors Manitoba, along with the MMSA, PARIM and UGME Student Affairs, are excited to announce the re-launch of our Medical Learner Mentorship Program. After consultations with medical learners and mentors, and other mentorship programs across Canada, several improvements have been made.
Participation in the program contributes to changing medical culture and will aid in bridging the gap between medical learners and practicing physicians.
Learn more about the program and register to participate!

Upcoming Events

There are a number of webinars coming up that you make be interested in, including about vaccine hesitancy, mental health during the pandemic, safe patient communications, and our Urban Locum Pilot Program.

May 19: Vaccine Hesitancy Webinar (PHAC)
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCCID) are hosting a webinar to inform health care providers on addressing COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in clinical practice. The session is moderated by Manitoba’s own Dr. Yoav Keyman, with other experts joining the panel from across Canada. A french panel will be held on May 20.

May 20: Urban Locum Information Session (Doctors Manitoba)
Research has shown that not taking time away from practice contributes significantly to physician stress and burnout. Now, there’s one more option to help physicians get time away while ensuring coverage for their patients. Learn more about the new Urban Locum Program and how you can register to become a locum provider or access the services of a locum. Participants will also learn more about the Rural and Northern Locum Program.

May 26: Is it safe to ask YOU? (MIPS)
This webinar from the Manitoba Institute for Patient Safety will focus on making patient communications safer and more effective. There are many factors as to why communication can be complicated between physicians and patients, this is why there is always room for improvement. Understanding these reasons better can transform a physicians daily practice and patients’ lives. 

June 6: Mental Health in a Pandemic (Part 1)
The University of Toronto, Department of Psychiatry, and Disaster Psychiatry Canada have developed this CME opportunities to explore different tools and tactics that can help both physicians and the patients they care for deal with the mental health impact of the pandemic. This session focuses preventing and managing traumatic stress related disorders applied to the pandemic and practicing psychological first aid among other topics.

June 11: Mental Health in a Pandemic (Part 2)
This second part in the series will focus on prolonged grief, inequities in disaster response, the use of virtual care and exploring disaster psychiatry training. This initiative is developed by the University of Toronto, Department of Psychiatry, and Disaster Psychiatry Canada. This session focuses preventing and managing traumatic stress related disorders applied to the pandemic and practicing psychological first aid among other topics.