After the most severe lockdown in the country, rivaled by this week’s announcement of a curfew in Quebec, Premier Pallister’s somber December countenance has given way to a trace of a smile. At the Wednesday, Dec. 6 press conference, hopes were dashed for an immediate lift of Manitoba’s Code Red lockdown but there was distinct optimism in the premier’s tone.
Although within the first few days of 2021, Manitoba appeared to have pulled out of COVID-19’s spiral as the number of new daily cases fell from over 500 to 100 cases and the death toll to below 10 people, the premier and chief health officer Dr. Brent Ruossin did not lift health orders, with one exception. Professional sports get a pass to enable them to practice and play.
The government anticipated our holiday season would bring a few more new cases daily. And it has.
As of Friday, Dec. 8 there are 221 new cases and nine deaths. Prairie Mountain Health has 27 new cases. Up from the first days of January that saw PMH new cases below 10. As the rest of Canada has seen growing case numbers through December, Manitoba’s numbers declined.
Another two weeks of the existing health orders are in place until Jan. 22. “While we are starting to bend our COVID curve in the right direction, now is not the time to let up,” said Pallister.
That takes us through another incubation period for the virus.
Pallister assured the roll-out of the Manitoba vaccination program is keeping up with the in-coming federal government’s vaccine supplies, as the provinces were not allowed to purchase vaccines, this was handled federally.
Manitoba government consulted with Indigenous chiefs and Pallister announced the first shipment of 5,300 doses of the Moderna vaccine to the campaign serving all 63 First Nation communities. Another 5,300 doses will arrive in February for these communities.
The premier said “We are providing vaccines to our 135 personal care homes in Manitoba as quickly as possible…We can bring the vaccine out to them safely.”
Focused Immunization Teams have a process designed to work through each and every PCH, inoculating residents with either the Moderna or Pfizer product, planning for 10,000 vaccines per week. They hope to cover the care homes throughout March.
Another super site vaccination centre will open in Brandon on Jan.18 and Pallister promised there will be ongoing vaccinations until all of Manitobans who want a vaccine, get a vaccine.
About COVID-19 protocol
Manitobans should only leave their homes for essential purposes. When leaving the house to obtain essentials, be sure to physically distance, wear a mask in indoor public places and avoid crowded spaces. Do not leave the home if you are sick, or when any member of your family is sick. Further, do not socialize with anyone from outside your household.
Public health officials are also advising that if anyone is symptomatic, or has a household member who is symptomatic, the entire household needs to self-isolate pending COVID-19 test results. For health-care workers, exceptions may apply and staff may be able/required to report to work after contacting their workplace occupational health services or designate. For information on self-isolation, including exceptions, visit www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/fundamentals/self-isolation.html.