COVID-19 Update — May 26, 2021
Today’s update includes:
- COVID-19 situation update
- Vaccine update
- BIPOC Manitobans more at risk to COVID-19
- We’re hiring a Physician Health & Wellness Medical Lead
Since our update yesterday:
- Daily cases remain high: 312 new cases of COVID-19 have been identified. The total case count in Manitoba now stands at 49,356.
- Test positivity down slightly: the five-day test positivity rate is 13.3%, down from 13.8%. It is 15.0% in Winnipeg, down from 15.9%.
- Active cases down slightly: There are 4,792 active COVID-19 cases province-wide, down from 4,945. This number is likely overstated as contact tracers focus on new cases and not updating patients’ status from active to recovered.
- Hospitalizations increase again: There are 318 people in Manitoba hospitals due to COVID-19, up from 314. This includes 74 people in Manitoba ICUs, down from 79, plus at least 18 in Ontario ICUs.
- One new death related to COVID-19 have been identified. The total number of deaths is now 1,035.
This afternoon, news emerged that a patient with COVID-19 died earlier this week after an attempt to transport them out of province for critical care. In their response to media, Shared Health described the individual as “medically stable but critically ill” who destabilized prior to takeoff. The patient was returned to the sending facility and died the following day. Little information is known about the case and patient privacy, of course, needs to be respected.
We share physicians’ concern about this tragic case and we recognize this is difficult news, especially as physicians and Doctors Manitoba have been raising concernsabout hospital capacity for some time. Last week we called for urgent action, including appealing for resources from out-of-province to open more capacity in Manitoba hospitals.
There are several updates today about COVID-19 vaccines.
Eligibility for Second Doses
Starting today, those who received the first dose of Pfizer or Moderna on March 29 or earlier can now book their second dose appointment. You can see current eligibility at ManitobaVaccine.ca.
AstraZeneca Second Doses
We are still waiting for final direction on how the province will approach second doses for the 80,000 or so people who received AstraZeneca for their first dose. The current recommendation is to wait for at least 12 weeks to get optimal effectiveness for this vaccine, and people will start reaching that milestone later next week.
Dr. Joss Reimer, Medical Vaccine Lead, explained today that they are awaiting a study underway in the UK to confirm the effectiveness of mixed dose vaccination, which could be available as early as tomorrow. In the meantime, public health’s advice remains to stick with the same vaccine for a second dose. If a patient is worried they are at increased risk of infection without a second dose, they were encouraged to contact their doctor of pharmacist to assess their risk. However, there are very few doses of AstraZeneca left in the province. We are seeking more information, and will keep you updated.
Privileges Once Fully Immunized
Dr. Reimer announced today that for those fully vaccinated, “you will no longer be required to self-isolate if you are a close contact of a COVID case, so long as you don’t have any symptoms.” You are considered “fully vaccinated” two weeks after receiving your second dose.
The government is seeking feedback from Manitobans about incentives to increase vaccine uptake, and is reportedly considering how restrictions would be loosened once a greater number of people have been vaccinated. Plans have been unveiled in several other provinces to show how things will return closer to normal based on vaccine uptake and decreased COVID risks, such as in Saskatchewan, Ontario and BC.
Vaccine Rollout Update
Based on vaccine supply, the government expects to reach 70% uptake for dose one between June 7 and 9, and for dose two by July 29 to 31. This is despite not having any confirmed shipments of Moderna for the next month.
Since youth age 12 to 17 became eligible, over 45,000 appointments have been booked, suggesting 45% uptake among this age group if people keep their appointments.
So far, 60% of those age 18+ and 56% of those 12+ have received at least one dose. Overall, this is about 45% of the entire population, all ages.
The province is now publishing more information on vaccine uptake. This expanded data reveals:
- 57% of women vs 51% of men have received at least one dose.
- By age, 93% of those 80+ have received at least one dose, along with 91% of individuals in their 70s and 82% of individuals in their 60s. There are lower levels of uptake among younger age groups, such as 58% among those in their 50s and 35% among those in their 20s, but some of these individuals only became eligible in recent weeks.
- All health regions have between 55% and 58% uptake, except for Southern Health, which sits at about 38%.
- Vaccination uptake by health district is also available. The interactive map shows the lowest levels of uptake in the districts of Stanley (surrounding Morden and Winkler) at 11%, Winkler at 22%, and in Hanover (surrounding Steinbach) at 24%. Uptake in the districts of Cross Lake/Pimicikamak, Norway House, and Island Lake are among the highest at over 80%. Most areas in Winnipeg are over 60%, except for Inkster, Transcona, Point Douglas and Downtown.
Infection Rates Higher Among BIPOC Communities
Between May 1 and May 19, the rate of infection by ethnicity reveals some groups are over-represented with a higher incidence of infection. The table below shows groups that have higher infection rates (South-East Asian, African and South Asian) and lower rates (White and Chinese).
Cases among Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) groups have outnumbered cases among White Manitobans. For the last several months, the actual number of cases among BIPOC Manitobans have often been more than double the number of cases among White Manitobans.
The Vaccine Task Force reported today that this analysis will inform the vaccine rollout and outreach.
You can view this new data here.
Medical Lead Opportunity — Physician Health
We are looking for a medical lead for our physician health and wellness portfolio.
A strategic priority of Doctors Manitoba is to advocate for the health and wellness of every physician. When physicians are well they can provide the best care to their patients. While Doctors Manitoba has a long history of supporting physician health programs such as Physicians at Risk and MDCare, we now want to increase the internal capacity of the organization and enhance physician leadership in this area.
A new Medical Lead position has been created to provide strategic direction in the area of physician health and also to provide individual and group based peer support in collaboration with the Physicians at Risk program. This position will be supported by the CEO, senior staff and a committed Physician Health and Wellness Committee.
If this part time role (8−12 hours per week) is a good fit for you, please consider applying or forwarding this on to a colleague who may be interested.
You can view the posting here. Applications must be received by June 9, 2021.
Now more than ever, Doctors Manitoba is committed to supporting the whole physician, including health and wellness.