In today’s message you will find:

COVID Update

Since our update on Friday…

  • Hospital occupancy continues to decrease: There are 463 people in hospitals with COVID-19, down from 513 on Friday.
  • Hospital admissions continue to decline: There were 16 people admitted to hospital yesterday with COVID-19. The average over the last seven days has been 17 admissions per day, down from 24 per day the previous seven days. 
  • ICU occupancy steady: Of the hospitalizations reported above, 29 patients are in ICU, unchanged from 29 on Friday. 
  • COVID-related ICU admissions have averaged two per day over the last seven days, with four admitted yesterday. This is up slightly from one to two admissions per day on average during the previous seven day period. 
  • 5 more people have died from COVID-19 since Friday with the total now at 1,680.

According to the COVID-19 Tracker Canada Project, Manitoba has an average of 34 hospitalizations per 100,000, down from 37 on Friday and the highest in Canada.

*Comparing hospitalizations by jurisdictions continues to be challenging as some provinces may use slightly different standards (e.g. only reporting patients with active COVID-19 infections and not recovered, or only reporting patients admitted because of COVID-19 and not with — Manitoba still reports both using a broader strategy). 

Clarification on New CPSM Direction

We’ve heard from many members today concerned about CPSM direction yesterday regarding not denying care to patients who refuse to wear a mask, even those who could be COVID-19 positive. We heard concerns about staff safety and, primarily, worry for other patients that may be at increased risk for severe illness who could be unnecessarily exposed to the virus from an unmasked patient.

We raised these concerns with CPSM to seek clarity about what this means for your practice. We can offer the following guidance to support your practice after the provincial mask requirements are lifted on March 15, which CPSM has reviewed and supports.

Clinics can maintain a policy and post signage that masks are required. Masks can be required for physicians, staff and visitors to the clinic. However, if a patient seeking care refuses to wear a mask, they cannot be denied care. Here are approaches clinics can use to meet their obligation to care for a patient that refuses to wear a mask, especially if they may have COVID or other respiratory virus symptoms:

  • Offer an in-person appointment at the end of the day.
  • Have the patient wait in their car or outside if feasible, and take them directly to a treatment room.
  • Ensure you and clinic staff are wearing appropriate PPE, including for suspect or positive patients (Shared Health primary care PPE guidance)
  • Offer a virtual appointment, if medically appropriate and acceptable to the patient, and in accordance with CPSM’s Standards of Practice for Virtual Care.

For physicians working in Shared Health or RHA health care facilities, please see their recent memo which indicates that while masks will no longer be required to be worn in public places as of March 15, they will continue to be required within our facilities due to the increased risk posed by the virus to the populations we serve.” 

We hope this helps to clarify your obligations as a physician to providing patient care. If you have additional questions or concerns about CPSM’s direction, we encourage you to contact the College directly. You can also share your concerns with us at covid19@​doctorsmanitoba.​ca to help us to continue to advocate for the support and clarity physicians need to focus on providing your patients with excellent care.

As has always been the case, physicians cannot deny care for patients based on vaccination status or require a negative COVID test. 

CPSM also provided direction about virtual care yesterday, reminding physicians that the Standard of Practice for Virtual Care is now in effect. This means that physicians must have the ability to see a patient in-person in a timely manner when required or requested.”

You can see the CPSM Update on COVID safety protocols and virtual care here.

Doctors Manitoba Launches New COVID Normal Campaign

As pandemic restrictions are eased across the province but the risks of COVID remain, Doctors Manitoba has started a new campaign to encourage all Manitobans to continue helping to protect themselves and others around them.

While the Omicron wave is receding, the risks from COVID-19 are still here,” said Dr. Kristjan Thompson, President of Doctors Manitoba.​“As pandemic protections are eased, please remember that there’s still a significant risk and a need to take precautions. COVID continues to circulate widely, and many Manitobans remain at increased risk for severe illness or even death from this virus.

There are many factors that can make people more vulnerable to severe outcomes from COVID-19, such as hospitalization, ICU admission or death. Risk factors include age, underlying medical issues, compromised immune systems, obesity, disabilities, history of smoking, and pregnancy, and many of these risk factors are not visible to others. Further, Manitobans who are Indigenous, Black or People of Colour have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and have been more likely to experience severe symptoms and death due to structural and systemic barriers experienced by BIPOC people in Manitoba. 

There are over 20 risk factors that can make people more vulnerable to COVID-19,” explained Dr. Thompson.​“As we find ourselves in this critical transitional stage of the pandemic, let’s work together to protect those around us who could be at increased risk.”

Doctors Manitoba launched New​COVID​Nor​mal​.ca to help Manitobans understand the current risks, who is more vulnerable, and what everyone can do to help. Over the next several weeks, physicians recommend Manitobans do the following to help:

  • Understand the risks by visiting New​COVID​Nor​mal​.ca
  • Wear a mask that is good quality and well-fitted
  • Get vaccinated and boosted, especially as easing restrictions increase risks for those who haven’t been fully vaccinated and boosted.
  • Reconnect with others gradually by keeping contacts at a reasonable level and finding fresh air whenever possible.
  • Stay home when ill to avoid spreading COVID to others.

The New​COVID​Nor​mal​.ca resource was created based on public health advice and with the input of physicians with a wide variety of expertise, including in infectious diseases, public health, family medicine, critical care, geriatrics, pediatrics.

Join Tomorrow — Town Hall with Backlog Task Force

Join us tomorrow (March 2) at 6:30PM for a special virtual Town Hall with the Diagnostic and Surgical Recovery Task Force, organized by Doctors Manitoba for the medical community. The Task Force was appointed by the government in December to address the growing backlog of surgeries and diagnostic procedures caused by pandemic disruptions. This was one of three recommendations Doctors Manitoba made in June last year in our first report on the backlog.
The Town Hall will feature a presentation from the Task Force leads followed by an extended Q&A to take questions and suggestions from physicians.The panel will include:

  • Dr. Peter MacDonald, Chair of the Task Force and an orthopedic surgeon in Winnipeg
  • Dr. Ed Buchel, Provincial Specialty Lead for Surgery
  • Dr. Marco Essig, Provincial Specialty Lead for Diagnostic Imaging
  • Mr. Matthew Lister, Task Force Director

Please join us for this important event. Registration in advance is required

When you register, you will have the opportunity to submit a question or suggestion for the Task Force. You will also be able to submit questions live during the Town Hall. We will do our best to get to as many questions as possible during the event.

Order Rapid Tests for Your Patients

Physicians can now order rapid test kits through Doctors Manitoba to provide to patients for their future home-use. The test kits will be shipped from the provincial government, who now has an ample supply to offer rapid test kits to the public more broadly.

These test kits, like those now available at provincial test sites, should be provided to asymptomatic patients for future at-home use, should they develop symptoms and need to self-test. The hope is that as physicians see patients for in-person appointments, you can offer patients free take-home rapid test kits for future use. This is also a good opportunity to remind them to be cautious as restrictions are lifted.

We recommend all doctors’ officers order test kits to offer to their patients. The province will announce publicly late next week that test kits will be available in doctors’ offices for patients who have appointments, but not for general public pick up.

You can order rapid tests now using this simple Doctors Manitoba form. We suggest one order per clinic or doctors’ office.

Kidney Health Month and You

Throughout the month of March, the Manitoba Renal Program will be raising awareness about kidney disease as part of Kidney Health Month. Part of their message will encourage patients to check in with their physicians about kidney health.

Dr. Mauro Verrelli, Provincnial Specialty Lead for Renal Health, explains that the rate of kidney disease in Manitoba continues to climb. Many patients don’t even know anything is wrong until they’ve lost about 80 per cent of their kidney function. This month is Kidney Health Month and I am asking you, my colleagues, to talk to your patients about kidney health and to test your patients at risk for this disease. I sincerely appreciate your commitment to this.”

The Manitoba Renal Program has created information for providers, including an interactive referral pathway and other resources.

Manitoba leads the nation in kidney disease and our rates are climbing. One in 10 Manitoba adults are living with kidney disease. Most don’t even know it and many won’t experience symptoms until 80% of their kidney function is lost. Early diagnosis can save lives and quality of life for many Manitobans. When a person has kidney failure, life-sustaining dialysis or a kidney transplant are needed to stay alive. 

On March 10, join us in recognizing World Kidney Day and advocating for early diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease, which can delay or prevent kidney failure. Visit www​.knowyourkid​neys​.ca to learn more. Join us on social media by using #KnowYourKidneys and #ShowYourKidneys to help spread the word. 

You can download and print a poster for your clinic here.

Coping with Conflict

In light of the recent events in Ukraine, ComPsych has created resources to support physicians and their household members cope with conflict – please refer to the ComPsych English Guide or French Guide. The resources on the Crisis portal, available in multiple languages including Ukrainian and Russian, can help physicians and their families during and in the aftermath of a crisis. There is no need to sign in to have access to this information.

As always, for personal and work life issues for you or your dependents, take advantage of the 24/7 Physicians & Family Support Program

CALL: 1 – 844 – 4DOCSMB (4362762) | Online: guid​ancere​sources​.com | Company ID: DOCSMB

Read about our other physician health & wellness programs here.

Our President, Dr. Kristjan Thompson commented on the conflict earlier this week: As doctors, it’s our job to help prevent death and injuries. Watching what’s happening in Ukraine is distressing. In just a few days hundreds have been killed, thousands injured, and hundreds of thousands displaced.” Doctors Manitoba joins Dr. Thompson in encouraging members to donate to an organization supporting the humanitarian response, such as the Red Cross.

Fantastic Physicians

We want to share physician accomplishments with our members! Do you know of a colleague who has received an award or recognition for the work they do? We’d like to hear about it. If you know of a physician or medical learner who has been recognized with an award or honour, please let us know by emailing general@​doctorsmanitoba.​ca!

Let’s get more Manitoba physicians recognized:

Canadian Women Physicians Day

Currently, more than 40% of our Canada’s physicians are women, and although that proportion is growing, women physicians continue to face gender-based issues like income disparity and discrimination. Canadian Women Physicians Day is a day to remember the women who paved the way and to celebrate those who are making a difference today. Join Canadian Women in Medicine (CWIM) for a virtual event celebrating the second annual Canadian Women Physicians Day on March 11, 2022. Register for the event here. Read a letter from the CWIM President Elect, Dr. Liana Hwang here and download a poster for the virtual event here. Spread the word on social media using the hashtag #WomenDocsCAN and this graphic.

Practice Opportunities

Are you looking for a change in your career? Browse our Practice Opportunities.

Access Winnipeg is looking for a .6EFT Primary Care/​Family Physician with an opportunity to increase to .7EFT as the Site Medical Lead.

Dr. Grant Goldberg, the current interim Site Medical Lead, encourages physicians to consider the opportunity: 

I have had the privilege of providing Site Medical Leadership at Access Winnipeg West for the first 2 years when it opened and most recently on an interim basis since October 2021. For those who are interested in branching out into a medical leadership role this is a great opportunity to work with a great leadership team and an amazing group of Primary Care Assistants, Primary Care Nurses , Nurse Practitioners and Physicians as well as allied health professionals- Dietitian, Psychologist, Physiotherapist, Occupational therapist, and Clinical Pharmacist which allows us to meet the needs of our community. 

The Site Medical Lead Role allows you to look at the bigger picture” and have influence at the ground level- obviously working collaboratively with our very skilled Primary Care Team.”

View the listing here.


A few recent updates, in case you missed them:

  • Canada has approved a new vaccine and you’ve still got time to claim your vaccine expenses. Learn more here.
  • Vaccination/​Test Mandates have changed for health care workers. Learn more here.
  • We wrapped up Black History Month with a story about Dr. Chukwuma Abara, a Northern physician working to address and improve health inequities & access to care for minority & racialized groups. Read his story here and read about Dr. June James, the first Black female to attend the Rady School of Medicine here.
  • Our *NEW* Bannatyne office opened on Monday and we’ll be there tomorrow too! Learn more about location and hours here.
  • We are extending our Wordle challenge deadline to March 15.
  • PaRx — Manitoba physicians can now prescribe the outdoors to their patients through the new PaRx program. Learn more here.

Upcoming Events and Training

Bookmark our Events Calendar to be sure you don’t miss any events or learning opportunities that interest you. 

IHI Leaders in Safety Course (on-demand) — Register here. In this free IHI Open School online course, you’ll explore the foundational role of leaders in keeping the health care workforce safe and strategies that have succeeded in reducing physical harm and improving psychological safety across organizations. 

MCFP Annual Scientific Assembly April 28 – 29 — Registe rhere. Register for Manitoba’s premier family medicine conference in live streaming webinar format April 28 & 29. The MCFP Annual Scientific Assembly (ASA) provides the highest quality, expertly vetted, evidence-based education specific to the practice of Family Medicine. Since its inception, the MCFP has recognized the importance of providing members with continuing professional development opportunities and this year’s program will not disappoint.Certified for 1 credit per hour.

Free Vaccine Hesitancy Course
The Manitoba Government, in partnership with the Crisis & Trauma Resource Institute, has created a vaccine hesitancy course to help medical professionals engage in difficult conversations with vaccine hesitant patients. This three-hour workshop focuses on delivering the Motivational Interviewing skills needed to break down barriers and address uncertainty and resistance around immunization. Specifically designed for doctors and other healthcare practitioners, the 20-person training sessions are facilitated by accredited professionals and are available virtually weekdays, evenings and weekends in March 2022. For further information on this course, or to register, please contact Troy Popadynetz at troy.​popadynetz@​gov.​mb.​ca for details and remaining time slots available.

The Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Medicine Program recently launched its new online learning platform. The program provides evidence-informed educational opportunities for lifelong learning, competence and sustained practice change, in a culturally safe and responsive manner. You can learn about upcoming courses and learning modules here and here.

Practical Strategies for Meaningful Allyship in Indigenous Health and Beyond
This webinar is being offered on two separate dates: March 4 and 11 from 12 – 1pm​. By the end of the session, participants will be able to define the concept of allyship and how it is distinct or complementary to other related concepts health professions education. Participants will learn to identify strategies to build and enact allyship within one’s individual and collective spheres of influence.For more information, please contact Angie Horrock at ahorrock@​exchange.​hsc.​mb.​ca

Early Career Learning Series
CMA Joule recognizes the challenges new physicians face and is offering a Early Career Learning Series to help early career physicians increase awareness and competency in key areas crucial to success. Learn more about the four sessions being offered here.