Health-care workers plead with people to stay home over the holidays
WINNIPEG -- Doctors and nurses working over the holidays and in the midst of a pandemic are issuing a Christmas message to Manitobans: stay home.
“Don’t let up” Dr. Gigi Osler told CTV News Tuesday. “We need to continue to wear masks, social distance, stay home over the holiday season, so we can get the cases down.”
The Winnipeg surgeon is the past president of the Canadian Medical Association.
She has been sharing the stories of health care workers on TikTok as part of a social media campaign launched by St. Boniface Hospital.
“(A) theme I’ve heard consistently is how hard health care workers are working and how sick people in hospital are,” said Osler. “We don’t want to see any more Manitobans suffer.”
In one video, a registered nurse documents how he contracted COVID-19. “I got sick and it didn’t matter how sick I was. My biggest worry was, 'am I going to make my family sick?'”
In another post, a health-care worker warns that not sticking to your household over the holidays could have dire consequences, “As hard as it is, we know we’ll get through this and you’ll be able to do this next year. We hate that you have to get together for funerals as an alternative.”
It’s a message echoed by Winnipeg ICU physician Dr. Anand Kumar.
“If we don’t pay attention at Christmas, we’re going to have a really bad January,” Kumar told CTV News Wednesday.
While the number of cases has started to dip, Anand said the health care system remains fragile.
“We’re still at a point where it wouldn’t take much in terms of people gathering for Christmas for us to tip over in terms of ICU capacity,” said Kumar.
Winnipeg epidemiologist and head of EPI research Cynthia Carr said if people don't follow public health orders over Christmas, Manitoba could face a similar situation to what happened after Thanksgiving.
“During Thanksgiving weekend we had about 80 cases a day on average,” said Carr. “Two weeks later we were at 136 cases on average. Two weeks after we were at 300 new cases.”
While there is no evidence the new variant of COVID-19 spreading across the UK is present in Canada, Carr said its emergence underscores the need to physically distance, wear masks and stay home right now.
“We really have to buckle down as hard as it’s going to be,” said Carr.