Today’s message includes:

COVID Updates

Testing Changes Start Monday

Today, Shared Health announced a change in testing protocols for patients admitted to hospital and residents admitted to personal care homes. Based on ongoing monitoring and evidence, Shared Health will return on Monday June 13 to symptomatic COVID-19 testing only, with few exceptions. 

This change means asymptomatic individuals no longer require COVID testing before admission to hospital or a personal care home. This includes patients admitted for labour and delivery and surgery.

Exceptions are in place to require asymptomatic testing for parent/​caregiver if their infant is admitted to an NICU in an open pod. There is also flexibility for other clinical circumstances to require asymptomatic testing, but only with approval of regional infection prevention and control staff, in discussion with the on-call microbiologist. 

Exceptions also continue for ongoing targeted surveillance, for example in ICUs. Where outbreaks are declared in hospital or PCH, testing will also continue. 

Symptomatic individuals continue to require PCR or rapid testing upon admission to hospital or PCH

You can read the full Shared Health memo here. Other resources include:

COVID Surveillance

Public Health now posts weekly COVID-19 Surveillance Reports on Thursdays. This week’s report, which is again showing​“decreased activity,” covers the week ending June 8. Highlights include:

  • Severe outcomes from COVID-19“increased compared to the previous week.” There were 100 hospital admissions, down from 120 the week before. This includes 7 ICU admissions, down slightly from 9 the week before. Hospital admissions have peaked most recently at 264 the week ending April 16
  • There were 7 deaths recorded, down from 15 recorded the previous week and 16 the week before. There have now been 2,004 deaths related to COVID-19
  • There were 337 lab-confirmed cases reported in Manitoba over the week, down from 416 the previous week. The test positivity rate was 10.8%, down from 13%.

The updated wastewater surveillance dashboard shows ongoing activity at much lower levels than earlier this year. There continue to be slight variations with modest increases and decreases each week. 

COVID Protest at CPSM

A protest against pandemic restrictions is planned for Friday, June 24 between 10 and noon outside of the CPSM building on Portage Avenue. We suggest avoiding the area.

While this protest appears to target CPSM, similar protest groups have changed locations at the last minute. There were protests at HSC and other health facilities a few months ago. Doctors Manitoba created a Guide to Physician Safety During the Pandemic, and it continues to be available for your reference. 

Live Healthy Manitoba — Campaign Launch

Tomorrow, our President Dr. Candace Bradshaw will be launching a new public awareness campaign focused on encouraging and supporting Manitobans to improve their health and, when needed, connect with their doctor.

The campaign was developed in response to the priorities members identified for our public awareness initiatives. We’ve also assembled the evidence, and there is good reason to focus on healthy living in this moment: 

  • 4 in 10 Manitobans (39%) report their own health habits and activities became worse during the pandemic. 
  • Triple the number of Manitobans rate their health now as poor or fair compared to before the pandemic (31% today vs. 11% in 2019)
  • Over 30% of Manitobans delayed seeking care during the pandemic.
  • Nearly a quarter (24%) say their mental health is worse than before the pandemic. 

We know physicians care deeply about the health and well-being of Manitobans, and we have heard your concerns about your patients missing cancer screenings, routine monitoring for chronic conditions or other important check ups. 

With the help of an advisory group of physicians, we have developed a new online resource Live​Healthy​Man​i​to​ba​.ca with proven tips on a variety of topics, including:

Reconnecting with family and friends

Eating healthier

Moving more and sitting less

Prioritizing better sleep

Reducing stress

Catching up on screenings and calling your doctor if you have medical concerns.

Physicians care deeply about the health and well-being of Manitobans, and we’ve heard from many patients that the pandemic made it difficult to focus on healthy living and to stay on top of medical concerns,” says Dr. Bradshaw. With summer just around the corner, and the worst of the pandemic hopefully behind us, now is a great time to help your patients focus on improving their health and well-being.”

You can help spread the word! Physicians and other health professionals and organizations are invited to use our these graphics, videos and suggested copy to help spread awareness online. Tag us in your posts! 

A digital public awareness advertising campaign will run for the month of June, which will encourage and support Manitobans in improving their health, while also demonstrating that physicians care about the well-being of Manitobans.

Free Park Access this Weekend

A great way for everyone to get moving this weekend is to visit a provincial park. The provincial government is waving entry fees for all provincial parks and family fishing this weekend, Friday June 10 through Sunday June 12.

Opportunity to Help Clear Surgery Backlog

The provincial government released a Request for Supply Arrangement (RFSA) which is essentially a call for proposals to add surgical capacity to help reduce the pandemic backlog. Proposals are due by June 22. We anticipate a similar RFSA later this month to add more diagnostic capacity. 

If you or your surgical group is interested in adding more surgical capacity, the RFSA is likely the route to pursue. This applies to both public or private facilities, including hospitals, doctors offices and surgical centres. 

The province has identified a list of specific procedures, but is open to proposals in any surgical area that has accumulated a backlog during the pandemic. The list of procedures specified includes:

  • Pediatric dental
  • ENT — both adult and pediatric
  • General surgery — both adult and pediatric
  • Cataracts
  • Outpatient spine procedures
  • Outpatient gynecological procedures
  • Outpatient orthopedic surgery
  • Outpatient plastic surgery
  • Urology
  • Vascular procedures
  • Endoscopy

The call for proposals has some requirements outlined. It appears preference will be given to facilities with capacity to quickly begin delivering the service and sustain it over the duration of the contract, which could run until March 31, 2024. The proposal must have a human resource plan that will not impair” existing capacity in the public system. 

While physician tariffs are already set by the Master Agreement, the RFSA allows public and private facilities to outline other costs required to deliver the service. Presumably, the government will review the responses and select bidders with competitive costs in their proposal. 

The RFSA is posted on the public tender site MERX. To access it you will need to sign up here, and then access the proposal here. You can try emailing provincial procurement services to request the proposal at ProcServ@​gob.​mb.​ca.

Please contact us at covid19@​doctorsmanitoba.​ca with any questions. 

National Indigenous Peoples Day

June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. We have added and will continue to add resources, events and activities to the event in our events calendar. We welcome and invite your submissions or suggestions. 

Pride Month

The sun made a grand entrance as 120 physicians, DRMB staff and their loved ones began their march in the 2022 Winnipeg Pride parade to celebrate and show support for the LGBTQ2S+ community. Our delegation handed out stickers and candies and truly felt the support of the parade audience. 

The Pride parade and Pride week may be over, but our commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Decolonization will continue in our initiatives that support and promote the care and inclusion of ALL Manitobans. 

Pronoun ID Badge Extenders

Words are powerful and using inclusive gender-affirming language is so important when providing health care to people of all genders. Using a person’s correct pronouns and sharing yours fosters an inclusive environment. Introductions with name and pronouns can happen in every setting, not just in LGBTQ2S+* spaces. You can Display & share your pronouns with patients & colleagues with our complimentary pronoun ID badge extenders. Learn about the importance of pronouns & order your ID badge at DRMB​.ca/​p​r​o​nouns

Safe Space Decals

Clinics and medical environments deemed Safe Spaces are important for the comfort, safety and inclusion of patients and staff who identify as members of the LGBTQ2S+ community. Help create these inclusive spaces by ordering complimentary​‘safe space’ decals to display in your practice. You can order up to 5 decals for your practice at DRMB​.ca/​S​a​f​e​Space

2SLGBTQ+ Interest Group 

The 2SLGBTQ+ Interest Group at the University of Manitoba is dedicated to raising awareness about the unique healthcare needs of the 2SLGBTQ+ populations while providing advice on how to improve quality of care to these communities. The group has a strong advocacy focus within the medical and non-medical communities and also seeks to empower non-2SLGBTQIA*-identified students to be respectful and effective allies. In recent years, the group has distributed pronoun pins to normalize respectful pronoun use and with the aim of decreasing instances of misgendering on campus and creating a safe space for transgender individuals. They have also organized educational sessions for the community, including hosting Dr. Blair Peters to discuss gender-affirming care and surgery and two spirit physicians to share their experience providing care for 2SLGBTQ+ patients. Representatives of this group have also worked with Doctors Manitoba to help inform their mentorship program in an inclusive manner. Moving forward, the group plans to continue strengthening the queer community on campus through empowerment and education.

LGBTQ2S+ Research

Researchers at UM want to hear from LGBTQ2S+ nurses and doctors about their workplace and educational experiences in a one-on-one interview. Download a PDF here or a social media graphic here. If you are interested in participating or want more information contact Deborah.​mcphail@​umanitoba.​ca


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

DRMB In the News

Upcoming Events

Join the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (CITF) on June 23 for The Omicron Tsunami, their 8th Research Results & Implications seminar. Learn more here.

Check out our events calendar for upcoming events for physicians. Here are a few highlights to consider over the next few weeks: