Manitoba continues to lose COVID battle


The Manitoba authorities has two important objectives within the combat towards COVID-19: to mitigate deaths and shield hospital capability.

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On each fronts, the province shouldn’t be doing effectively.

Chief provincial public well being officer Dr. Brent Roussin introduced 9 extra fatalities Monday, bringing the whole variety of deaths in Manitoba to 499 for the reason that starting of the pandemic. That’s greater than double what it was simply two weeks in the past at 196.

Whereas the vast majority of deaths are nonetheless amongst these over 65 (whose lives are simply as useful as anyone else’s), there is a rising quantity of their 40s and 50s. About 10 per cent of COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba are youthful than 65.

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Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says all provinces have been hit exhausting by the second wave of the pandemic. That’s true. However on the subject of the variety of COVID-19 deaths per capita — in all probability crucial measurement of all — solely Quebec has achieved worse.

As of Dec. 13, Manitoba had 36 deaths per 100,000 individuals, second to Quebec’s 88. Ontario had 27. Alberta, thought-about Canada’s COVID-19 hotspot in current weeks, had solely 16. British Columbia had 12.

Saskatchewan, a province with related demographics to Manitoba, had solely eight COVID-19 deaths per 100,000. Manitoba’s ratio is almost 5 occasions that.

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It’s not clear why Manitoba’s pandemic loss of life charge is so excessive. The province did a poor job of getting ready for the second wave of the pandemic, together with failing to adequately shield private care properties. However solely about half of COVID-19 deaths have been linked to outbreaks in nursing properties.

Manitoba has had extra circumstances of COVID-19 than most provinces (1,506 per 100,000 individuals for the reason that starting of the pandemic), rating third behind Quebec and Alberta. And it continues to have the second highest circumstances per capita over the previous seven days. However that does not clarify the a lot increased loss of life charge.

Case numbers on their very own are much less essential than outcomes. Since most individuals change into solely mildly in poor health from COVID-19 (or present no signs in any respect) it’s extreme outcomes — together with deaths and hospitalizations — that matter most. In each circumstances, Manitoba fares poorly.

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The variety of new circumstances has fallen considerably over the previous few weeks (due largely to decrease testing volumes), however hospitalization numbers proceed to rise. Well being officers have warned for weeks that present ranges can not proceed. But nobody appears to know the place the breaking level is.


The entire variety of sufferers in hospital that examined optimistic for COVID-19 peaked Friday at 388. The province had incomplete knowledge on intensive care unit beds Monday. Nevertheless, ICUs are working at over 150 per cent capability in comparison with per-pandemic ranges. (It is exhausting to think about how hospitals would deal with a spike in crucial care circumstances proper not associated to the pandemic, like a large-scale trauma incident.)

Important care employees are already unfold skinny. ICUs are presently counting on groups of health-care staff that embody some with little to no crucial care expertise.

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There are 27 ICU beds which are open and prepared to be used, in response to Shared Well being. However hospitals must discover personnel to employees them. It’s unclear the place these would come from.

Whereas no person has been denied crucial care but, many Manitobans have had their care delayed due to the pandemic.

In November alone, an estimated 2,700 elective and non-emergent surgical procedures had been postponed to release employees for redeployment. These sufferers, many in ache and discomfort, had been put again on the ready checklist. (The province continues to be behind on surgical backlogs from the spring when elective procedures had been postponed.)

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Since most surgeons have stopped reserving elective procedures, there’ll possible be 1000’s extra in want of surgical procedure over the winter who might be delayed additional.

Manitoba is shedding the COVID-19 battle. By most measurements, it has not managed this pandemic effectively. Sadly, it seems the worst is but to come back.

tom.brodbeck@freepress.mb.ca

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Tom Brodbeck

Tom Brodbeck
Columnist

Tom has been protecting Manitoba politics for the reason that early 1990s and joined the Winnipeg Free Press information group in 2019.

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