In today’s message you will find:

Rural & Northern Health Crisis — Focus on Solutions

Over the long weekend, two more rural ERs closed: Minnedosa for the weekend, and Pine Falls for at least a few weeks. This caps off the worst summer yet for disruptions to rural and Northern health care, with more ERs closed full- or part-time than ever before. 

Based on feedback from members, Doctors Manitoba created Rural​Care​.ca to raise public awareness about the unpredictable ER schedules in some rural communities, with tips on how to plan ahead and links to local operating hours. We also took the message to social media and news outlets. This work was quite successful, with over 150 local, provincial and national news stories. 

The second part of our strategy has been focused on finding solutions. We’ve welcomed the advice from members over the summer, and we hope to see many of you at the Rural Health Summit we are holding later this month. This is a unique, perhaps first-ever, event for Doctors Manitoba. We are co-hosting the Summit with the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, because health care and physician shortages are top concerns for their members too. 

Please review the details below and consider joining us.

Invitation: Rural Health Summit

The goal of the Summit is to discuss the physician shortage in rural and Northern Manitoba and examine potential solutions to physician recruitment and retention. The goal is to build consensus about the actions and strategies needed to attract and retain more doctors in rural and Northern communities. We are expecting a number of physicians and medical learners, along with leaders from the health system, business community, and municipal governments. 

  • DATE: Wednesday, September 21
  • TIME: 10AM to 3PM
  • LOCATION: Portage la Prairie

If you are interested in participating, please contact Maclean at mboyd@​doctorsmanitoba.​ca. Please include your location of practice and full name in your email. Space is limited and we want to ensure we have a strong and regionally representative group of physicians and medical learners in attendance.

If you are not able to participate, a draft report from the Summit will be available for comment after the event before it is finalized and submitted to the government. 

Of course, physician shortages are only part of the cause of the current crisis in rural and Northern health care. Doctors Manitoba continues to monitor and raise concerns about shortages in nurses, technologists and other health care workers, as well as other potential issues like medical transportation, administrative burden, health system support and the still undisclosed plan for rural hospital restructuring. 

COVID Updates

COVID and Flu Update with Dr. Brent Roussin

Join us on September 27 for an exclusive webinar with Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s Chief Provincial Public Health Officer, for an update about COVID-19 and influenza this fall and winter. The event will be hosted by Doctors Manitoba President Dr. Candace Bradshaw. 

Dr. Roussin will provide a briefing for physicians about public health’s monitoring and what to expect, how vaccines and other measures will be used this season to mitigate the risks, and advice for physicians to use in their practice. The webinar will also include a Q&A. You can submit your questions in advance, or ask them live during the webinar. 


COVID Surveillance Update

Public Health posts weekly COVID-19 Surveillance Reports on Thursdays. This week’s report covers the week ending September 3 and shows​an increase in activity. Highlights include:

  • Severe outcomes from COVID-19 increased compared to the previous week. There were 70 hospital admissions, up from 67 the week before. This includes 16 ICU admissions, up from 9 the previous week. Weekly hospital admissions last peaked at 264 in the week ending April 16.
  • There were 2 deaths recorded, down from 6 the previous week. There have now been 2,118 deaths related to COVID-19.
  • There were 475 lab-confirmed cases reported in Manitoba over the last week, down from 622 last week.
  • The test positivity rate was 22.5%, up slightly from 22.1 %.

The updated wastewater surveillance dashboard for Winnipeg continues to fluctuate at lower levels but are increasing slowly. Brandon’s dashboard shows a significant spike, with levels at their highest since surveillance began in early July. 

Bivalent Booster Details and Tariff Number

Last Friday, Manitoba Public Health provided an update on the province’s plan to roll out the Moderna bivalent booster vaccine, which was approved yesterday by Health Canada. It also provided information about expanding eligibility for additional boosters for ages 12+. Because supplies will be limited over the next few weeks, eligibility for the bivalent vaccine will be initially prioritized for the following individuals: 

  • Adults aged 65 or older.
  • Indigenous people aged 18 or older, regardless of where they live.
  • Adults of any age with higher-risk medical conditions, including people who are immunocompromised due to a health condition or medication.
  • Health-care workers aged 18 or older.
  • Residents of personal care homes and other congregate living facilities including assisted living, group homes, shelters and correctional facilities.

Starting September 12, anyone aged 12 and older can access a fall booster of the monovalent (original) vaccine if they choose, which could be a second or third booster depending on their age and uptake. This aligns with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s recommendations for access to fall boosters. However, Manitoba Public Health is recommending that individuals eligible for a vaccine booster now or in the next few weeks wait for access to a bivalent booster, as it provides additional protection from COVID-19

Appointments for bivalent boosters for those who meet eligibility can be booked through the online vaccine booking tool or by calling 18446268222. The bivalent booster will also be available at medical clinics, pharmacies, and through Indigenous partners. You can view the Public Health bulletin here.

NOTE: A new tariff as been assigned for the Moderna bivalent booster. Physicians should use tariff 8266 when administering a dose of this bivalent booster.

Long COVID Resources

Yesterday the Science Table COVID-19 Advisory for Ontario release a science brief titled Understanding the Post COVID-19 Condition (Long COVID) in Adults and the Expected Burden for Ontario.

The post COVID-19 condition is a complex and heterogeneous syndrome that develops in people with prior SARS-CoV‑2 infection. More than 100 symptoms have been reported in people with the post COVID-19 condition, and these appear to be associated with reduced quality of life, reduced function, and impairments in people’s ability to work and care for themselves. There remains significant uncertainty in the definition, magnitude of prevalence, causes, risk factors, prevention, and prognosis of the post COVID-19 condition, as well as its impact on people’s quality of life, function, and ability to work. Nonetheless, the reported range of these effects in the published literature suggests that the post COVID-19 condition poses substantial health risks to adults across a diverse range of outcomes that have the potential to impart a considerable burden on individuals and healthcare systems. More contemporary evidence in the era of widespread vaccination and emerging variants resulting in less severe illness than earlier variants suggests that the post COVID-19 condition may now be less frequent following SARS-CoV‑2 infection. Still, a proactive and comprehensive strategy to manage the post COVID-19 condition needs to be developed by health systems and policy makers. This strategy should include substantial investments in research and health system resources to mitigate the long-term health, social, and economic impacts of the post COVID-19 condition in Ontario.”

Read the whole brief here.

Flu Shot Orders Open

Manitoba Health will be sending out the first order survey for influenza vaccines later today to Influenza Immunization Providers who registered with the Manitoba Seasonal Influenza Immunization program. Please note that providers cannot request vaccines until they have registered. If you have not yet registered, this is your final reminder to do so by filling out the form here.

Fantastic Physicians

Nominate a colleague today!

October 15, 2022 is the deadline for nominations for the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) awards. To learn more about the various awards and to nominate a colleague click here.

Scholarship Opportunity

September 30, 2022 is the deadline for applications for the Joan and Dean Sandham Scholarship in Aboriginal Health Professional Leadership. The scholarship is open to First Nations, Métis and Inuit students who have completed an undergraduate program in medicine or nursing and are pursuing further studies that will specifically enhance and develop their leadership skills. Learn more about the scholarship here and submit your application to Ongomiizwin@​umanitoba.​ca.

DRMB in the News 

This was another active week for Doctors Manitoba in the news, bringing physicians concerns to the forefront:


Here are some important and popular recent updates, in case you missed them:

Upcoming Events

Upcoming events are always listed on our events calendar.