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Manitoba government delays end of birth alerts due to COVID-19

The Manitoba government has delayed ending birth alerts, which allow hospitals to flag mothers to child welfare agencies.
The Manitoba government has delayed ending birth alerts, which allow hospitals to flag mothers to child welfare agencies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Manitoba says it is delaying an end to a practice that allows hospitals to notify child-welfare agencies about new mothers who are deemed to be high risk.

Families Minister Heather Stefanson says the province is intent on responding to the spread of COVID-19 and now is not the time to implement a broad change.

She says in an email that ending birth alerts would put additional pressure on the health-care system.

READ MORE: Manitoba to end birth alerts: families minister

Provincial statistics show newborn apprehensions occur, on average, once a day in Manitoba.

There are about 10,000 children in care in the province and about 90 per cent are Indigenous.

Stefanson announced the phaseout of birth alerts by April 1 earlier this year.

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