October 26, 2021
In today’s message you will find:
- COVID-19 Surveillance Update
- Vaccine Update
- PC Candidates’ Answers to DRMB Questions
- Updates on Travel
- Celebrating Manitoba Physicians
- CMA Physician Health Survey
- Upcoming Events
Since our last update on Thursday, October 21:
- Daily cases up: 508 new cases of COVID-19 have been identified since last Thursday, a daily average of 102 (up from 80 last week). This includes 73 new cases today. The total case count in Manitoba now stands at 62,977.
- Test positivity up overall: The provincial five-day test positivity rate is 4.3%, up from 3.2% last week. In Winnipeg, it is 1.7%, up from 1.3% last week.
- Active cases up: There are 1,069 active COVID-19 cases province-wide, up from 926 last week.
- Hospitalizations down: There are 78 people in Manitoba hospitals due to COVID-19, down from 87. This includes 17 COVID-related patients in Manitoba ICUs, down from 20.
- Two more people have died from COVID-19 since last Thursday. This brings the total COVID-19 related deaths to 1,237.
Public Health Orders Extended, Tweaked
Based on Manitoba’s “positive progress” so far during the fourth wave, new public health orders came into effect this morning. The orders maintain existing pandemic restrictions across the province for at least three more weeks as “case numbers, hospital admissions and ICU numbers continue to fluctuate.”
These orders include limiting or prohibiting some activities for unvaccinated people, with some capacity limits for larger events and venues.
The only change to the order is for the additional measure in the Southern Health region, where retail capacity had been capped at 50%. That capacity limit remains in place in the region, but it is lifted in health districts surrounding Winnipeg, recognizing their higher vaccination rates and proximity to the city. Exempted areas in Southern Health where the retail capacity limit no longer applies includes the municipalities of Cartier, Headingley, Macdonald, Ritchot (Niverville-Ritchot), St. Francois Xavier and Tache.
The province remains at restricted (orange) on the pandemic response system, with schools remaining at caution (yellow).
View the province’s public health bulletin for further information about the public health order extension and changes.
Ontario Reopening Plan
According to Health Canada’s tracking, Manitoba had 49 cases per 100,000 over the last seven days, up from 43 last Thursday. Meanwhile, Ontario had 18 cases per 100,000 over the last seven days. Based on their current situation and trajectory, Ontario announced an extended reopening plan on Friday.
Under the new reopening plan, Ontario would see all public health and workplace safety measures lifted, gradually, by March 2022. The multi-step plan includes the following:
- October 25: Lifting capacity limits and physical distancing in a variety of venues, if access is limited to fully vaccinated patrons, including restaurants, bars, gyms, casinos, museums and galleries, event spaces, salons, etc.
- November 15: Lifting capacity limits on remaining settings where proof of vaccination is required, including higher risk settings like night clubs and wedding receptions.
- January 17: Assuming no concerning trends over the holidays, proof of vaccination requirements may start to be lifted in some settings, like restaurants and gyms.
- February 7: Proof of vaccination requirements would be lifted in other higher-risk settings, such as night clubs.
- March 28: Remaining measures would be lifted, such as requiring mask use and any proof-of-vaccination requirements. Local public health measures may still be employed but province-wide measures would be used only in exceptional circumstances.
Since our update last Thursday:
- 86.6% of Manitobans age 12 and up have received at least one dose, up from 86.4% a week ago.
- 83.3% have received two doses, up from 82.9% a week ago.
Eligibility for third doses and booster shots is maintained by Doctors Manitoba at ManitobaVaccine.ca.
Update on COVID Vaccine for ages 5 – 11
The U.S. FDA is considering the Pfizer application today for emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11. The final decision on authorizing the vaccine south of our border won’t come today, though. The CDC’s advisory committee will consider the issue next week, and approval could come quickly after.
Health Canada is reviewing the application too, and a decision could come sometime in November.
Doctors Manitoba is monitoring this closely, and we will keep you up-to-date.
Get Ready for COVID Boosters and Approval for Younger Children
We are encouraging physicians to support the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination campaign in the weeks ahead. This opportunity is still open to all physicians, even if you have not ordered or administered COVID vaccines so far.
We are anticipating demand for COVID-19 vaccination to increase substantially in November and December, as first doses will likely be rolled out to younger children, and eligibility for booster shots will likely expand to more and more groups. There is now ample supply in the province, and we understand from the province that physicians should not experience delivery delays or disruptions this fall.
We have worked with government to ensure remuneration for COVID-19 vaccination reflects the additional work required in supporting informed consent and addressing vaccine hesitancy. In many cases, physicians can claim $20 for the injection plus a patient visit (see our billing advice).
We’ve also negotiated additional funding for physicians and clinics to support patient outreach and for holding COVID-19 vaccine information and immunization clinics. Learn more about that initiative here.
If you haven’t yet signed up to offer the vaccine, visit the province’s site here to register.
Contact our team with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PC Leadership Candidates on Physician Priorities
This Saturday, the Progressive Conservative Party will elect a new leader, who will also become Manitoba’s next Premier. Between the pandemic and issues in the health system, we know physicians are concerned about how a new Premier may impact their work and how they meet their patients’ needs. We also know some physicians are PC party members who may be voting in this leadership race.
Our President, Dr. Kristjan Thompson wrote to both Shelly Glover and Heather Stefanson, to ask them about the top issues and concerns among physicians right now, including the surgery and diagnostic backlog, making virtual care permanent, and whether they will act on public health advice to manage the pandemic going forward.
→ You can view their full responses here, unedited and unfiltered, to ensure you hear the full responses from both candidates.
Doctors Manitoba has been thinking ahead, connecting with both candidates now to raise physician concerns. We will be ready to connect with the new Premier, and possibly a new Health Minister, to ensure physicians are heard and have a meaningful voice going forward.
On Thursday, October 21, the federal government quietly removed the advisory against non-essential travel. The Government of Canada website had been advising travellers against all non-essential international travel, but is now replaced with a notice urging all travellers to be fully vaccinated before a trip. However, the advisory against all cruise ship travel remains in place. The Public Health Agency of Canada advises that in addition to being fully vaccinated, travellers should follow public health measures at their destination, as well as taking personal protective measures when abroad. It is also important to monitor each country’s entry requirements, as they vary greatly from country to country, and can change frequently without prior notice.
The Pan-Canadian proof of vaccination credentials are now available in Manitoba. To access the information, you need to log in to the Manitoba Immunization web portal – the same place where Manitobans requested and access their provincial immunization card. There, you can request the pan-Canadian credentials once consenting, and will then receive a PDF copy. You can either print off the PDF and carry it with you, or keep it on your phone or other device.
The federal credential will be recognized across the country for travelling in other provinces and territories and when returning to Canada from other jurisdictions. It is recommended that you keep using the Manitoba Immunization Card here in Manitoba.
For the most up to date information regarding travel restrictions, check the Government of Canada’s Travel and Tourism information page.
Here are some key upcoming dates regarding travel restrictions:
- October 30: air, rail and cruise ship passengers age 12 and older must be fully vaccinated, whether that travel is international or domestic.
- November 8: U.S. land borders reopen to non-essential travel, but only for fully-vaccinated travellers. Air travellers will need to show proof of vaccination as well.
Celebrating Manitoba’s Physicians
Three of our members have been named among Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in 2021, by Women’s Executive Network (WXN).
Dr. Joann Embree, a pioneering pediatric infectious disease expert, was named an Executive Leader, recognizing women aged 46+ who not only exemplify what it means to be a great leader, but also build confidence and champion others. Read more about Dr. Embree here.
Dr. Patricia Birk, who is Professor and Head, Department of Pediatrics & Child Health, Provincial Specialty Lead, Pediatrics, Child Health, Shared Health Manitoba, Medical Director-Pediatric Kidney Program, Transplant Manitoba was named a top professional. The award recognizes women who are professionals in practice and play a leadership role within their organizations. You can read more about Dr. Birk here.
Dr. Melanie Morris, first and only Indigenous pediatric surgeon in Canada, was named an Emerging Leader, which recognizes women from 30 – 45 years of age, who have been targeted for successive leadership positions within organizations and have a proven passion for learning and innovation. You can learn more about Dr. Morris here.
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.
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.
Joan and Dean Sandham Scholarship in Indigenous Health Professional Leadership
An endowment fund which has been matched by the President’s Fund at the University of Manitoba, will be used to offer scholarships to Indigenous students who are passionate about medicine or nursing and who are pursuing further degree studies that will specifically serve to enhance and develop leadership skills, in order to advance their professional career in delivering high-quality health care. Candidates must meet specific criteria and the application deadline is October 31, 2021. Learn more here.
CMA National Physician Survey
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is inviting all practicing physicians and medical learners to participate in its 2021 National Physician Health Survey. This is a critical time to understand the key factors affecting your practice, daily interactions, lifestyle, and mental health, as well as how the pandemic has affected pre-existing challenges or brought about new ones.
By sharing your experiences, you will be supporting the CMA and other stakeholders in identifying the individual and system-level changes needed to better support physicians, create a healthier medical culture and guide our country’s post-pandemic recovery. We will have access to data specific to Manitoba, which will help us inform programming and supports for our members.
The survey should take less than 20 minutes; your time is greatly appreciated. You do not need to be a CMA member to participate.
Doctors Manitoba Awards Celebration! — November 20, 2021 - Get your Tickets!
Please join us for the Doctors Manitoba Annual Awards Celebration, where we will celebrate this year’s award recipients. Tickets are available now! Based on member feedback, an in-person event at the RBC Convention Centre has been planned. This will be an opportunity to connect with colleagues, celebrate our profession, and support each other through the next stages of the pandemic and vaccination campaign. The event will follow public health guidance to ensure the safety of all attendees. If the pandemic situation requires it, we will change to a virtual format and all tickets will be refunded. Read more about the event and get your tickets HERE.