Advertisement

Word on extension of Manitoba coronavirus restrictions coming next week: Roussin

Click to play video: 'Manitoba COVID-19 modelling numbers' Manitoba COVID-19 modelling numbers
New modelling projections show Manitoba's partial lockdown has moved the province just below COVID-19 worst-case scenario numbers. And while health officials say it could be worse, Manitobans will need to buckle up because the province is far from in the clear. Brittany Greenslade reports – Dec 4, 2020

Manitoba’s top doctor says an announcement on the province’s plans to extend the current public health orders around COVID-19 should come early next week.

In the meantime, Dr. Brent Roussin is keeping tight-lipped on whether or not the new round of restrictions would be any less strict than those currently in place, or whether or not they will allow for groups to gather in homes over the holidays.

Read more: Manitoba reports 9 new coronavirus deaths, 320 new cases Friday

The province imposed orders banning large public gatherings, closing non-essential businesses and forbidding in-home gatherings with a few exceptions Nov. 12.

While the public health orders are scheduled to expire next Friday, Roussin has said some restrictions will remain in place because daily cases and hospitalization rates are still too high.

Story continues below advertisement
Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Manitoba reports 12 more coronavirus deaths, 368 new cases Thursday' Coronavirus: Manitoba reports 12 more coronavirus deaths, 368 new cases Thursday
Coronavirus: Manitoba reports 12 more coronavirus deaths, 368 new cases Thursday – Dec 3, 2020

On Friday the province released modelling numbers that show Manitoba had been on track to hit 100 per cent intensive care capacity — with COVID-19 patients alone — by Nov. 23. That would have left no room for any other patients in need of a critical care bed, health officials noted.

Friday’s modelling numbers show for every 48 cases announced in Manitoba, three people end up hospitalized and one dies, meaning for every 480 cases reported, there are 10 deaths.

As of Friday, there were 361 people in hospital — up from 357 Thursday — with 55 people in intensive care due to the coronavirus, up three from the day before.

Read more: Canada will have vaccine infrastructure in place around ‘Christmas,’ 1st doses in January

Story continues below advertisement

The province has been tracking four separate scenarios — ranging from “extreme,” where few restrictions are in place and compliance levels are low, to “controlled,” where strong restrictions are in place and the orders are followed — when it comes to restrictions and public compliance, health officials said Friday.

Under the worst case outlined in the modelling, health officials said Manitoba could have been seeing as many as 1,055 new cases a day by Sunday had the restrictions not been put into place.

Instead, daily case numbers have usually ranged between 300 and 500 since Nov. 12, with a handful of days seeing case counts below 300.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

“Over the past few days, while we have seen COVID-19 case numbers drop down a bit within the projected range of case numbers, we are not out of the woods yet and must remain vigilant to prevent another spike,” Roussin said in a release.

Story continues below advertisement
Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Manitoba health official warns cases may be stabilizing, but hospitalizations not' Coronavirus: Manitoba health official warns cases may be stabilizing, but hospitalizations not
Coronavirus: Manitoba health official warns cases may be stabilizing, but hospitalizations not – Dec 4, 2020

Read more: Vaccines won’t be mandatory; Manitoba teachers to get priority for rapid COVID-19 testing

The current modelling shows hospital admissions are in the upper end of the second — or “severe” — scenario, meaning we’re seeing numbers consistent with what would be expected if some restrictions were introduced, but compliance from the public was low.

Without improvement, that means health officials are projecting COVID-19 patients will regularly account for at least half of ICU occupancy by the end of the year.

Patients with the virus were already accounting for 48 per cent of ICU capacity as of Friday, said Manitoba’s chief nursing officer, Lanette Siragusa.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Pallister delivers emotional plea to Manitobans not to gather during Christmas' Coronavirus: Pallister delivers emotional plea to Manitobans not to gather during Christmas
Coronavirus: Pallister delivers emotional plea to Manitobans not to gather during Christmas – Dec 3, 2020

Siragusa said staff reassignments and redeployments, as well as cancellations of non-urgent procedures, have been able to free up hospital space and resources to allow the province’s health-care system to operate at 126 per cent of its normal, pre-pandemic capacity levels.

Story continues below advertisement

She said planning is also underway to expand ICU capacity to accommodate up to 173 patients, which would be 240 per cent normal, baseline capacity.

Read more: Manitoba reports 12 more coronavirus deaths, 368 new cases Thursday

While Siragusa said public-health orders have meant the province narrowly avoided “catastrophic” impacts on the health-care system, she added that hospitals and front-line workers remain under pressure.

“Some Manitobans may feel they are not vulnerable to the most severe impacts of this virus. However, they need to understand our health system must care for all Manitobans in need of health services, not just those with COVID-19,” she said.

Story continues below advertisement

“Continued action is necessary to reduce the spread of this virus, and ensure we do not push our health system and our health-care providers beyond their capacity to treat not just COVID-19 patients but any Manitoban who needs care at this time.”

Despite the strict restrictions that have been in place for three weeks now, Roussin said the province has yet to see the “significant and sustained downward changes” to daily case numbers and hospitalization rates, and he expects the majority of the current health orders will need to stay in place

“It’s too early to say we are changing trajectory,” Roussin said.

“Manitobans themselves have the most important role in determining how successful these measures will be doing our part to reduce COVID-19 cases.”

Read more: Coronavirus — Breakfast Club of Canada feeding more kids during the pandemic

Roussin said health officials are still working on exactly what the next public health orders will look like after the current ones expire.

Manitoba has had a surge of COVID-19 cases this fall and on Friday health officials reported 320 new cases and nine additional deaths.

Since March, the province has reported 18,069 cases of the novel coronavirus and 362 Manitobans with the virus have died.

Story continues below advertisement

–With files from The Canadian Press

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

Story continues below advertisement

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

Sponsored content