In today’s message you will find:

COVID Surveillance Update

Since our last update on Tuesday, November 9:

  • Daily cases up: 493 new cases of COVID-19 have been identified, a daily average of 164 (up from 158). This includes 193 new cases today. The total case count in Manitoba now stands at 65,371.
  • Test positivity up: The provincial five-day test positivity rate is 6.1%, up from 6.0%.
  • Active cases up: There are 1,489 active COVID-19 cases province-wide, up from 1,438.
  • Hospitalizations up: There are 145 people in Manitoba hospitals due to COVID-19, up from 138 from on Tuesday. This includes 30 COVID-related patients in Manitoba ICUs, up from 28. Of the 23 active cases in ICU, 21 are unvaccinated and 2 are fully vaccinated. 16 of the 30 COVID-19 related patients in the ICU are from the Southern health region. 
  • Three more people have died from COVID-19. This brings the total COVID-19 related deaths to 1,269.

Vaccine Updates

As of today, 87% of eligible Manitobans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 84.2% have received two doses. Over 2.1 million doses have been administered province-wide. 

Booster Shots Open to All Adults

On Wednesday, the province opened up booster shots to all Manitobans age 18 and over. Most adults, however, will not be eligible quite yet as the third dose must be given at least 6 months after the second. 

While all adults are eligible, a memo from public health outlines groups at increased risk for severe illness for whom the booster is recommended. This includes:

  • People age 70 and older
  • Residents of PCHs or congregate elderly person housing (e.g. assisted living), or individuals receiving home care or community living disability services support
  • Pregnant individuals
  • Health care workers who have direct contact with patients
  • First Nations, Métis and Inuit people
  • Individuals living in Northern Manitoba
  • People working in congregating living facilities, including correctional facilities, group homes and homeless shelters
  • Individuals experiencing homelessness
  • People who only received a viral vector vaccine or a vaccine in another country that is not approved by Health Canada
  • Individuals with specified chronic conditions:
  • an immune system moderately to severely weakened by disease or medical 
  • treatment (see list of conditions, 3rd dose recommended 28 days after second dose) 
  • cardiac or pulmonary disorders (ex: cystic fibrosis)
  • neurologic or neurodevelopmental conditions
  • diabetes and other metabolic diseases
  • renal or liver disease
  • anemia or hemoglobinopthy
  • asplenia or hyposplenism (including sickle cell disease)
  • obesity (body mass index ≥ 40)
  • tuberculosis disease (current or previous) OR latent tuberculosis (LTBI) where 
  • treatment has not been completed
  • human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), irrespective of CD4 count 

This also includes individuals recommended by a health care provider who may not appear in the list above. 

Physicians should counsel individuals on the risks and benefits of a third dose during the informed consent process, including risk of severe illness and death, risk of exposure, risk of declining protection from the vaccine, and vaccine safety risks such as myocarditis.

Pediatric Dose Update

Health Canada expects to finalize its review of the Pfizer pediatric COVID-19 vaccine for ages 5 – 11 within two weeks. 

Manitoba Health is now accepting orders from doctors’ offices and pharmacies for the special pediatric dose, which is different from the adult vials. 

We strongly recommend pediatricians, family physicians and other specialists sign up and order doses now to avoid a delay when the first vaccine supplies are distributed. 

  • If you have not yet signed up to offer COVID vaccines in your practice, you can register here.
  • If already registered, you should complete the survey distributed by Manitoba Health to request Pfizer pediatric vaccine. This is a new survey, distinct from the weekly order surveys used previously. The initial order survey should focus on ordering enough vaccine for the first 2 – 3 weeks after approval. You can access the ordering survey here.

Doctors Manitoba is anticipating higher levels of vaccine hesitancy or caution among parents for children in this age group. We will be holding a public vaccine town hall to help address public concerns, updating our Man​i​to​baVac​cine​.ca site when the vaccine is approved, and sending facts and key messages to physicians to help you in responding to parents’ concerns. 

New Targeted Restrictions Coming

Today, the province introduced additional public health measures to address the growing number of COVID-19 cases and protect hospital capacity. The new pandemic precautions include targeted restrictions in Southern Health, as well as province-wide restrictions to address growing case counts among youth. 

Dr. Brent Roussin presented updating trends and projections today that underscore the need for added restrictions. Key findings include:

  • Cases are increasing, driven primarily by Southern health region and among Manitobans under the age of 20.
  • New cases could climb above 200 per day on average by December 1 at the current rate.
  • This increase is expected to result in a jump in hospitalizations and ICU admissions over the next several weeks. 

Hospitalizations are increasing, with 145 COVID-19 patients in hospital today, up 23% since last week. We learned today that 12 of these patients are under 40 and three are under the age of 20. Meanwhile, ICUs are already over their normal 82-bed capacity, with 86 patients today. This includes 30 patients with COVID-19, an increase of 25% over the last week.

In Southern Health, religious gatherings will be limited to 25 persons, unless the facility can isolate groups into separate cohorts. Even with cohorts, capacity is limited to 25%, up to 250 people and masks must be worn. This restriction takes effect tonight. Southern health municipalities adjacent to Winnipeg, with higher vaccination rates, are exempt. Religious gatherings limited to fully-vaccinated individuals are exempt from these new restrictions. Existing restrictions limiting retail capacity to 50% in the Southern region continue.

Province wide, new restrictions will affect youth recreational sports, recognizing the increase in cases among the 0 to 19 age group. Youth age 12 to 17 will be required to have at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, or have a recent negative test result (within 72 hours). Tests must be obtained at a pharmacy for a fee. These rules will also apply to overnight camps, which are already limited to 15 individuals with a plan approved by public health. These restrictions take effect December 6, to allow more notice to those affected. 

These orders will continue to allow fully vaccinated Manitobans to enjoy as much freedom and as few restrictions as possible, while unvaccinated individuals will continue to be restricted in their activities in order to reduce transmission and that risk,” explained Dr. Roussin. In addition to the orders, Shared Health announced plans to increase hospital capacity in order accommodate the projected increase in admissions over the next several weeks. This includes plans to increase ICU capacity from the provincial baseline of 82 beds to 110

Other existing restrictions remain in effect, including on public and residential gatherings and restricting access to fully-vaccinated people at many public places.

Unfortunately, this added capacity comes at a cost. Patients are being relocated to lower-acuity facilities, sometimes in different communities, to free up hospital beds. To support additional ICU capacity, OR slates are again being cancelled to allow surgery nurses to be redeployed to critical care. This will only add to the growing backlog of over 130,000 surgical and diagnostic cases. The reduced surgical capacity will begin on November 20

No procedures scheduled before November 19 will be affected. Initially, the OR slate reductions will include two fewer slates at each of the following facilities: Pan Am, Misericordia Health Centre and Victoria General Hospital. It also impacts endoscopy capacity at Seven Oaks General Hospital. 

Patients impacted by these measures are being contacted. If not contacted, patients should assume their procedure is unaffected and proceeding.

Further information on new and existing pandemic restrictions can be found here.

→ What do you think about the pandemic response and restrictions? Take our member survey now to share your views on this, the surgical backlog and more!

Last Chance for Award Celebration Tickets!

Join us and over 300 colleagues on November 20 for our Annual Awards Celebration at RBC Convention Centre! The deadline to purchase tickets for our Annual Awards Celebration is this Sunday, November 14

Learn more and get tickets before Sunday!

In light of increasing COVID-19 cases, we are proceeding with this event cautiously. The event will not only adhere with public health orders, but also has additional precautions in place. This includes limited access to guests who are fully-vaccinated (if age 12+), and symptom-free, and requiring masks to be worn unless seated, drinking or eating. In addition, we are taking the extra measure of limiting capacity to less than 50% in a large ballroom, to allow for spacing and comfort. We have heard from physicians who feel isolated and want to reconnect with their peers, and from others who need support and encouragement as we continue to navigate this pandemic. Our event will support these needs, while also allowing attendees to demonstrate what is possible with COVID-19 vaccinates and public health precautions. In addition to honouring our 2021 Award Winners, the evening will include special guests and important tributes:

  • Greetings from CMA President Dr. Katherine Smart, who is planning to join us in-person! She will also honour the 2020 CMA Honorary Members, including Dr. Arlene Walker, Dr. Carol Holmes, and Dr. Eric Sigurdson. 
  • Recognizing the heroism of Dr. Ken Hahlweg, who tackled the man attacking a nursing supervisor at Seven Oaks General Hospital last month.
  • A toast to our 2020 award winners, who were recognized with a virtual event last year.
  • A tribute to recognize the impact of the pandemic on physicians and how the medical community has responded from Dr. Candace Bradshaw, President-Elect of Doctors Manitoba.

The event will be emceed by Dr. Michael Boroditsky, Chair of the Awards Committee, and include remarks from Doctors Manitoba President Dr. Kristjan Thompson.

Have Your Say — Complete our Survey! 

Did you know Manitoba’s new premier will lay out her government’s agenda in a Speech from the Throne on November 23? What would you like to see in it? What do you think about about the ongoing pandemic response? Have you faced threats or harassment at work? We want to know your feedback on these topics to help shape our advocacy! 

Please take a few minutes to complete our short survey and tell us what you think. If you complete the survey by this Sunday, November 14, you will be entered to win a complimentary ticket to our Awards Celebration Dinner on Saturday November 20 ($125 value). 

Take survey now!

Our survey covers three important topics:

  • Manitoba has a new Premier. What do you think should be the government’s health care priorities? 
  • We are in the fourth wave, with rising cases and hospitalizations. How worried are you, and what do you think about the current restrictions?
  • Have you been threatened, harassed or abused by a patient or the public? We need to know so we can better advocate for physician safety. 

It will only take a few minutes to share your views on these issues, helping to chart our advocacy over the next few months. If you complete the survey by this Sunday, you can enter a draw for a complimentary ticket to the Doctors Manitoba Award Celebration on November 20. If you already have already purchased a ticket, it can be refunded or it can be given to a colleague of your choice. If you can’t attend, we can donate your ticket to a medical student. 

Take our survey now to have your say and shape our advocacy.

Dr. Ken Hahlweg’s Bravery Honoured 

Earlier this week, Doctors Manitoba presented Dr. Ken Hahlweg with a Special Award for Bravery. This special honour was created to recognize Dr. Hahlweg’s heroic role in disrupting a knife attack on a colleague last month at Seven Oaks General Hospital. Learn more about this special award.

Celebrate Manitoba’s Physicians

Congratulations to Dr. Terry Klassen who received the Pediatric Chairs of Canada 2021 Leadership Award for Clinician Investigator for his work tireless work in research and investigation surrounding pediatric care. Earlier this year we announced Dr. Melanie Morris received the Emerging Academic Leader (Medium Institution) for her work as Canada’s first and only Indigenous Pediatric Surgeon.

Our 2022 Awards Nominations are open!

We are pleased to announce that nominations are now open for the 2022 Doctors Manitoba Awards!
Nominations are due by December 142021.

As the pandemic continues to disrupt medical care and so many other things in our lives, we don’t want to lose sight of recognizing excellence in the medical profession. The Doctors Manitoba Awards are the highest honour in the province for physicians. There are no shortage of physicians who have been demonstrating excellence this year. For some, this has meant contributing to the pandemic response and vaccination campaign in some way. For others, it has meant persevering during the pandemic to continue their work on patient care, research and other priorities. 

Nominate a colleague today.

CMA Awards — Call for Nominations

Nominations are now open for the 2022 Canadian Medical Association (CMA) Awards. The CMA Awards recognize the dedication, successes and talents of Canadians who are making significant contributions to our health and health care. For information on how to nominate a colleague click here. The submission deadline is November 30, 2021.

Nominate Jets Health Care Heroes

Shared Health and the Winnipeg Jets have teamed up to bring you Scheif’s Healthcare Heroes. You can now nominate a colleague or peer to be featured and celebrated at a Winnipeg Jets home game. Nominees will have​“stepped up in immeasurable ways, supporting patients, residents and clients navigate the additional stress of accessing health services during a pandemic.” Each home game will celebrate a Manitoban working in healthcare who has made an impact during the pandemic. You can nominate someone here. Nominations are open now, until December 31. A new call for nominees will open in the New Year.

211 Offers Connection Assistance from United Way

211 MB is a free, confidential, 24/7 service of United Way that connects individuals to government, health, and social services across the province. The service helps Manitobans who are looking to find the right community or social resource but don’t know where to start. 211 Manitoba also makes it easy for service providers and first responders to direct others to the right resource. In addition to searching on the 211 Manitoba website, individuals can now call 211 to talk with trained professionals in 150 languages, to help find and navigate the services they need. To request more information, or posters/​pamphlets for your office please contact 211MB Director, Daniel Leonard at dleonard@​unitedwaywinnipeg.​ca.

Upcoming Events

Order your Awards Dinner Tickets by Sunday!

Join us on November 20 for our Annual Awards Celebration at RBC Convention Centre! We will gather (safely and responsibly) to celebrate our 2021 Doctors Manitoba award recipients. Please join us for the physician event of the year — tickets are available now. The deadline to purchase is Sunday, November 14

Learn more and get tickets before Sunday!

Physician Leadership Speaker Series

Physician Leadership in Challenging Times: Building Capacity Through Connection is a four-part speaker series to give physicians an opportunity to build their leadership skills and knowledge and create opportunities for growth. The series was created in partnership with Doctors Manitoba and the University of Manitoba, Office of Leadership Education for Rady Faculty of Health Sciences is offered with generous support from Canadian Medical Association. It is a self-approved group learning activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Learn more about the series here. Download and print a poster to share with colleagues.

Effective Allyship Event — Advancing Women in Healthcare Leadership

Equity in Medicine, a group of Canadian healthcare leaders growing a community of support to advance equity, diversity & inclusion in Medicine, has collaborated with Sanokondu to present Effective Allyship: Advancing Women in Healthcare Leadership. You can register for the virtual event, which will be held on Tuesday, November 23 at 7pm. Register now!