Manitoba’s current public health orders to be extended one week

Manitoba Health Minister Audrey Gordon speaks to media. Global News

Manitoba health officials say they are extending current public health orders.

The current orders were to expire early next week, but they will be extended one week to Feb. 8.

Read more: Dozens of Winnipeg first responders off work due to COVID-19, city says

Health Minister Audrey Gordon said while cases appear to have plateaued, data still needs to be gathered.

“As we all learn to live with the virus, it is still critical that we stay the course over the next week. There are signs of stabilization but we need more data to fully assess our next steps and implement initiatives that support our pandemic response.”

Hospitalilzations and and intensive care units are high, she said, but are currently stable or slowly declining in recent weeks.

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However, recent data from Winnipeg wastewater suggests the viral count may once again be increasing, said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s Chief Public Health Officer.

“COVID-19 continues to add stress to our health care system and we need all Manitobans to get vaccinated, stay home when you are sick, get tested and self-isolate according to public health orders. I know we are all tired. Working together, we have the ability to reduce the impact of the virus.”

The province’s current modelling shows that cases that require ICU care will likely continue to increase over the next few weeks.

Dr. Brent Roussin shows the province’s ICU modeling numbers. Global News/Screenshot

ICU capacity limits may require more people to be moved out of their home region, said the province.

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“We are planning for accommodation and capacity to ensure we have space for additional admissions to hospital and ICU,” said Dr. David Matear, health system co-lead, Unified Health Sector Incident Command.

To help those patients who do have to transfer, the province is now offering financial aid for their relatives or other supporters who visit them.

Each patient will be allowed one designated support person who will be entitled to meal vouchers, transportation funding, and up to $70 a night for accommodations.

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As for reopening, the province hopes to lay out a plan next week, said Gordon.

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