Manitoba is set to see a gradual return to “normal” health services as COVID-19 numbers continue to drop, health minister Audrey Gordon said Thursday.
Gordon was joined by David Matear, health system co-lead of Unified Health Sector Incident Command, as well as chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin at a press conference, and said a number of health services that have gone through postponements or delays due to the pandemic will begin to resume.
“Now is the time to prepare for a return to normal,” said Gordon.
“This pandemic has taken a significant toll on all Manitobans and together, we can look forward to a co-ordinated and cautious plan to recover from the intense demands that it has had on our health system.”
Gordon said Manitoba’s plan will include the return of healthcare workers who had been redeployed due to the COVID-19 demand, and a phased resumption of operations and other services that were previously on hold.
Clinical leaders will prioritize the most urgent services to resume first, and the province will be closely monitoring the movement of the pandemic in case there’s a need for a quick shift in resources.
“Our province continues to move in the right direction when it comes to COVID-19, which means we can continue to reduce the public health restrictions,” said Roussin.
“Manitobans have stepped up to get vaccinated and taken steps to keep themselves and their communities healthy, and advances in COVID-19 treatment options are giving us yet another tool to combat the most serious effects of the virus for many Manitobans.
“Public health will continue to closely monitor these key indicators to guide how we deal with COVID in the weeks and months ahead.”
The province had previously announced that vaccine cards will no longer be required as of Tuesday, March 1, with mask requirements and all other COVID-19 restrictions slated for removal March 15.
Nothing has changed on that front, although health officials said Thursday that businesses and venues choosing to continue to require proof of vaccination after that date will still have access to the verification app in order to do so.