Tuesday, January 18, 2022

‘We have to shift:’ Manitoba moves from COVID prevention to mitigation, vaccination

WINNIPEG – The government of Manitoba said on Wednesday that everyone in the province is likely to be exposed to COVID-19 in the coming weeks and that the province’s effort to stop its spread is turning away.

WINNIPEG – The government of Manitoba said on Wednesday that everyone in the province is likely to be exposed to COVID-19 in the coming weeks and that the province’s effort to stop its spread is turning away.

“Covid-19 is no longer an emerging disease. It is here to stay and our ability to control the virus is limited,” said the province’s deputy chief public health officer, Dr. Jazz Atwal.

“We have to move to reduce the impact of COVID-19 and stay away from the virus.”

The announcement came as health officials reported another day of increasing number of patients in the hospital.

There were 454 COVID-19-related cases in hospital beds – up from 36 on Tuesday. The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care rose by four to 46.

The total number of patients in intensive care, including non-COVID cases, reached 102 – 30 more than the province’s normal capacity before the pandemic.

Atwal said the province was not giving up fighting. But given the rapid spread of the COVID-19 omicron variant, he said the focus is now more on promoting vaccination, managing the virus spread at the community level rather than individuals, and testing in high-risk settings. has been focused.

Still, he said he expects the number of cases to continue to rise for the next few weeks.

Premier Heather Stephenson said the province was working to expand hospital capacity, including hiring more intensive care nurses. Last spring, a shortage of intensive care beds and staff prompted Manitoba to send dozens of patients to other provinces.

Opposition parties accused the Progressive Conservative government of failing to prepare for the Omicron wave.

“They … have obviously thrown in the towel. They have given up when it comes to prevention,” said NDP leader Wab Kinew.

Liberal leader Douglas Lamont said, “They basically waved the white flag of surrender. This is completely unacceptable.”

The government recently rejected the opposition’s call for toughening public health orders. Stephenson said the current rules, which include limits on public gatherings and vaccine requirements for entering restaurants, playgrounds and other venues, are among the most stringent in Canada.

Asked whether he and other public health officials had advised the province to impose stricter rules before last Friday, Atwal declined to answer directly after the government announced that the status quo would continue for three weeks. .

“We have discussions with the government. We give recommendations to the government, and I think more will have to be done by the government to answer your question,” Atwal told reporters.

Stephenson, who became premier in November, indicated that the government had begun to listen to a wider audience.

“There was a lot of emphasis on the public health phases and it’s a lot of responsibility in one place, and I think what we need is a more balanced approach going forward,” she said.

“At the end of the day, we will take advice from public health, but we will also consult other Manitobans.”

Keanu called on the government to publicly release the advice it received from public health.

“It seems very clear that public health in Manitoba advised the premier to take stronger public health measures,” he said.

“I’d like to hear what measures were recommended.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on January 12, 2022.

Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press

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