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‘Grow up’: Premier calls out Manitobans doing ‘dumb things’ as record COVID-19 hospitalizations strain system

Manitoba

“Grow up. Stop going out there and giving people COVID.” Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister delivered that blunt message Monday to those ignoring public health orders after officials warned they are seeing too many COVID-19 cases with large numbers of close contacts, putting strain on the province’s health system.

Premier Brian Pallister shared some stern words about COVID-19 safety following a news conference where Chief Public Health Officer Brent Roussin outlined examples of Manitobans not following the province’s guidance.(John Woods/The Canadian Press) 

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister delivered a blunt message to people who ignore public health orders after officials warned they are seeing too many COVID-19 cases with large numbers of close contacts, putting strain on the province’s health system.

“Thoughtful Manitobans are making sacrifices, tough sacrifices … while other people are doing dumb things, and those dumb things are endangering all of us,” Pallister said at a news conference Monday afternoon.

“Grow up. Stop going out there and giving people COVID.”

Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin says contact tracers are having trouble identifying close contacts of known cases because many people can’t remember everyone they’ve been in contact with.

“If that would be difficult for you, it probably means you’ve had way too many contacts over that period of time,” Roussin said at a news conference Monday afternoon.

Roussin announced 100 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba, with 80 people in hospital, a test positivity rate of 7.1 per cent and another death at the Parkview Place Long Term Care Home.

Many of the new cases are linked to social gatherings, including Thanksgiving, he said.

Lack of disclosure, gatherings

In one case, someone went for a medical procedure without disclosing that they had been in close contact with a known COVID-19 case, which meant dozens of health-care workers, including an entire surgical team, had to self-isolate for two weeks.

One person who tested positive had a gathering at their home, exposing many people.

Another person who likely acquired COVID-19 at a faith-based gathering visited a personal care home, beginning an outbreak at the facility, Roussin said.

In another case, a person attended a funeral in Lake Manitoba First Nation on Oct. 12 while they were infectious but did not have symptoms.

“We’re in a pandemic. We have to expect to see cases … but what we shouldn’t expect and what we shouldn’t accept are people having 50 contacts, or people going to work when they’re ill, or people not being forthcoming with health-care providers,” Roussin said.

Manitoba officials frustrated by COVID-19 surge

As Manitoba sees a continued increase in COVID-19 cases, it’s seeing an unprecedented surge in its hospitals and ICUs. As pressure to close parts of the province mounts — officials are pointing fingers and doctors are bracing for the worst. 

Last week, the province had 831 new cases, bringing the total number of cases in Manitoba since the beginning of the pandemic to 4,349. If that trend continues, the province could reach a total of 5,000 cases by the end of the week, Roussin said.

Strain on hospitals

The warnings came on a day when Roussin announced a record-setting 80 people with COVID-19 in hospital in Manitoba.

The death announced Monday was a woman in her 80s connected to the outbreak at Parkview Place, which brings the number of deaths at the personal care home to 18.

A total of 55 people have now died from COVID-19 in Manitoba.

The number of Manitobans in hospital with the disease caused by the novel coronavirus has risen sharply, more than doubling over the course of about a week, from what was a record-breaking 29 on Oct. 18.

The number of patients in intensive care nearly doubled over the last few days, from eight on Oct. 22 to 15 on both Sunday and Monday.

Roussin was joined at the news conference by Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer for Manitoba Shared Health, for the first time since Aug. 4.

He called it “disappointing” that she had to return to give updates on the state of the health-care system.

Siragusa said the health system still had capacity in both medical and intensive care units.

“However, if we continue to see increases like this, we will likely need to implement some of the measures that we took in the spring,” she said, such as postponing elective or non-urgent procedures to free up capacity.

‘It does feel like it’s on the brink,’ says chief nursing officer

Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer for Manitoba Shared Health, empathized with health-care staff over fears of escalating cases in hospital and how those are putting pressure on the system. 

Health-care workers are under increasing stress, Siragusa said. “It does feel like it’s on the brink.”

Record-high test-positivity rate

The five-day test-positivity rate — a rolling average of the number of tests that come back positive for COVID-19 — has also risen rapidly to hit the 7.1 per cent announced on Monday. The test-positivity rate in the Winnipeg Health region is 8.3 per cent, and in the Northern Health region it is 4.8 per cent.

Nearly three-quarters of the new cases, 73, are in the Winnipeg health region. In the Northern Health region Monday, 10 new cases were confirmed and the region moved to the orange or restricted level on the province’s pandemic response system.

There were 11 new cases in the Southern Health region, five in the Interlake-Eastern health region and one in the Prairie Mountain Health region.

The new numbers come as stricter COVID-19 control measures go into effect in Winnipeg schools as well as in northern Manitoba.

‘Halloween is going to look different this year’

Manitoba’s Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin urges cautious approaches to Halloween this year — including none-touch means of giving out candy, and not holding or attending parties. 

The rules in northern Manitoba are now the same as those in place in the Winnipeg area, including a five-person cap on gatherings.

The strain on the health-care system includes an outbreak at St. Boniface Hospital that spread to a third unit last week. One person connected to the outbreak has died and 31 people — 22 patients and nine workers — have tested positive.

The provincial government also released its latest weekly COVID-19 surveillance report for the week of Oct. 11 to 17 on Monday.

The report says 156 health-care workers had the virus, 27 more than the week before. The new cases included four nurses and eight health-care aides.

More possible exposures

The province also announced several new possible COVID-19 exposures on Monday:

Lake St. Martin First Nation

  • Oct. 12: A funeral in Lake St. Martin First Nation.

Lorette

  • Oct. 16: College Lorette Collegiate.

Ste. Anne

  • Oct. 19 and 20: Ste. Anne Collegiate.

St. Claude

  • Oct. 5 to 16:
    • École Gilbert Rosset School. Two confirmed cases of COVID-19 attended the school, one from Oct. 5 to 16 and one from Oct. 19 to 20. Officials don’t believe the infections were acquired at school.

Steinbach

  • Oct. 17: MJ’s Kafé at 408 Main St., from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Oct. 19: MJ’s Kafé at 408 Main St.,from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The Pas

  • Oct. 19:
    • Opasquia Elementary School.
  • Oct. 20:
    • New Avenue Hotel Bar from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
    • Opasquia Elementary School.
    • Margaret Barbour Collegiate.

Winnipeg

  • Oct. 13, 14, 15:
    • John W. Gunn Middle School.
    • Minnetonka School. A confirmed case attended the school on that date, but no close contacts have been identified.
  • Oct. 14, 15:
    • Fort Richmond Collegiate.
  • Oct. 15: Kawaii Crepe at 4-1385 McPhillips St. from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Oct. 16:
    • Winnipeg Transit Route 55, from Queen Elizabeth Way and southbound Main Street to Beliveau Road at St. Anne’s Road from 8:35 a.m. to 8:55 a.m.
    • Winnipeg Transit Route 55 from Beliveau Road at St. Anne’s Road to Queen Elizabeth Way and Main Street from 5:45 p.m. to 6:05 p.m.
    • Glenelm School.
  • Oct. 17:
    • Winnipeg Transit Route 55, from Queen Elizabeth Way and southbound Main Street to Beliveau Road at St. Anne’s Road from 10:55 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
    • Winnipeg Transit Route 55 from Beliveau Road at St. Anne’s Road to Queen Elizabeth Way and Main Street from 8:15 p.m. to 8:35 p.m.
  • Oct. 18:
    • Winnipeg Transit Route 55, from Queen Elizabeth Way and southbound Main Street to Beliveau Road at St. Anne’s Road from 9:55 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
    • Winnipeg Transit Route 55 from Beliveau Road at St. Anne’s Road to Queen Elizabeth Way and Main Street from 2:35 p.m. to 2:55 p.m.
  • Oct. 19:
    • St. Maurice School. Two confirmed cases attended the school on that date, but public health officials don’t believe the infections occurred at school.
    • École Viscount Alexander.
    • Hugh John Macdonald School.
    • Fort Richmond Collegiate.
    • École Romeo Dallaire. A confirmed case attended the school on that date, but no close contacts have been identified.
  • Oct. 20:
    • École Viscount Alexander.
    • Hugh John Macdonald School.
  • Oct. 21
    • Hugh John Macdonald School.

About the Author

Cameron MacLean is a journalist living in Winnipeg, Man. where he was born and raised. He has more than a decade of experience covering news in the city and across the province, working in print, radio, television and online.

Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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