Current Manitoba public health orders extended for another week
Manitoba is staying the course on public health orders aimed at limiting the spread of the Omicron variant.
The province’s measures will remain in place until at least Feb. 8 but officials suggested Friday a loosening of orders could be coming after that if the strain on hospital eases.
“So there’s still significant spread of Omicron in our community and so certainly the health-care system is feeling those effects although there’s some indicators that show some of that may be stabilizing,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer.
Roussin said several data points, including wastewater surveillance and reports on staff absences are showing a wave of Omicron cases may be in the process of plateauing, but he said it’s still too soon to know for certain.
Because of that, the province said it’s extending the current pandemic measures with the hope the numbers will soon paint a clearer picture.
“Another week of data is going to give us more information, more clarity as to where we are,” Roussin said.
One additional week of the current measures is okay with Winnipegger Crystal Lommen.
“We all need to do our best and kind of push forward and try and get through the pandemic,” said Lommen in an impromptu interview while in the middle of a move. “I think all of us are kind of just done with it at this moment. But as long as we all do our part, we should all get through it.”
Audrey Gordon, Manitoba’s health minister, said while there are signs of stabilization it’s critical to stay the course right now but hinted a loosening of restrictions may be looming.
“Next week Premier (Heather) Stefanson and Dr. Roussin will provide Manitobans with public health orders moving forward, including what I hope will be an outline to reopen the province,” Gordon said.
Gordon also said Stefanson will be offering extended supports to businesses, the arts community and cultural sector but provided no specific details Friday.
Roussin pointed to provincial modelling which suggests hospitals may soon hit peak occupancy, while intensive care capacity could peak around the middle of February. But right now the strain on the health-care system remains significant.
There are currently 715 COVID-19 patients in hospital.
Fifty-two of the 110 total (both COVID and non-COVID) ICU patients have been infected with COVID-19 — and admissions continue to climb with nine new COVID-19 patients admitted to ICU Thursday and 39 patients admitted so far this week.
Dr. David Matear, health system incident command co-lead, said surgeries have been cancelled so staff can be redeployed and patients have been transferred to other health regions to meet the needs of acute care and ICU patients.
“These moves don’t come without a cost,” Matear said. “Staff are tired and non-COVID patients have once again been affected.”
Matear said officials are preparing to scale up ICU capacity to 123 beds if patient demand increases – a move he said the province has the staff and resources to accommodate.
A full list of the orders can be read below:
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