Wednesday , March 3 2021

Manitoba doctors prescribe a healthy dose of caution when relaxing public health orders

Three Manitoba doctors who signed a letter calling for a comprehensive closure of the province in the fall say that easing the restrictions too quickly and too quickly could lead to a new rise in COVID-19 cases in the province.

“Based on what I see, it seems very likely that if we implement all the restrictions listed, we will come back with restrictions, you know, in three, four weeks,” said Dr. Anand Kumar, an infectious disease expert and Winnipeg Intensive Care Specialist.

Although the whole of Manitoba is at a critical level in the Manitoba pandemic response system, the province announced Tuesday that it is considering easing some of its existing health interventions in all areas except the north as early as Saturday.

Possible changes include having people have two visitors at home, five guests outside their property, and increasing the number of people allowed at funerals to ten.

The province is also considering allowing stores to reopen as long as they meet capacity utilization restrictions and physical distance measures, and remove restrictions on the purchase of non-essential goods.

In addition, hairdressers and barbers are on the list of companies that can start again.

Kumar said services offered by hairdressers, such as one-on-one, are a lower risk as long as security measures, including camouflage, are in place.

However, he said he wanted the province to wait until the number of new infections reported daily is about 40 or 50, which he said would allow aggressive contact to be traced, and a test positivity rate closer to five per cent before making many changes at once.

Dr. Anand Kumar says loosening restrictions too soon could send the province back to a situation where the health system is overloaded with COVID cases. (John Woods / The Canadian Press)

Kumar said new, more contagious variants of COVID-19 have been detected in Canada, and the provincial health care system must be able to respond if the number of cases increases.

“If you just press the numbers below, which causes an overload, bypassing the overload only takes a little,” Kumar said. “If we get a new contagious variant and we have a level wherever we manage to handle it, we’ll be overwhelmed in two weeks.”

On Wednesday, Manitoba reported 154 new cases of COVID-19, including 70 cases in the northern health zone. Winnipeg’s five-day test positivity dropped to 6.7 percent, the lowest it has been since October. The five-day test positivity for Manitoba was 9.5 percent.

Kelly MacDonald, an infectious disease expert and professor at the University of Manitoba, said people need to remember that while the rate of infection is lower in Winnipeg and parts of southern Manitoba, the number of cases is rising in the northern region and health care system. serves the entire province.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re from Treherne, Man., Churchill, or Flin Flon or Winnipeg. If you need heart surgery, you have to go to St. Boniface Hospital,” said MacDonald. “If this ICU is full of COVID patients, you have no luck. So we need to make sure we know we’re dealing with capacity issues across the province.”

MacDonald said he was among the doctors who warned the county government in early January not to ease the restrictions too quickly.

“I think if we’re going to loosen things up, we should do it gradually so we know what the impact is,” MacDonald said. “And that we let people know that this is a kind of temporary measure to see the effects.”

Manitoba’s vice president, director of public health, Dr. Jazz Atwal, said at a news conference on Wednesday that the province would make cautious choices about what would be allowed to reopen.

“We have to take the time to do this, do it right so we don’t have to go back and forth. Opening and closing, opening and closing is not something we want to do.”

Dr. Philippe Lagace-Wiens, a microbiologist and physician at St.Boniface Hospital, said he was concerned about the reopening of large shopping malls, such as shopping malls.

“With up to 25 percent capacity, there are a lot of people who gather there, a lot of people who gather in eateries and the like,” he said. “I think it’s a significant risk that needs to be reconsidered.”

Dr. Philippe Lagace-Wiens is a medical microbiologist and physician at St.Boniface Hospital. (Philippe Lagace-Wiens / Facebook)

He said manitobans should remember that while restrictions make it easier, they still need to protect against COVID-19.

This includes using masks at another household, physical distance, maximizing, such as edge picking and deliveries, and following public health guidelines for size collection.

“Keep those people consistent,” he said. “It can be very, very damaging to the process if you decide,‘ I have two people, but I have two people today, two different tomorrow and two different the day after. “At that point, it becomes essentially the same as gathering a large number of people over time.”

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