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14 more COVID-19-related deaths Sunday, including man in his 20s – CBC.ca

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There are 14 more deaths, including a man from the Winnipeg Health region in his 20s, and 383 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba on Sunday, according to a provincial news release.

That brings the total number of deaths related to the virus to 395.

The man in his 20s and a woman in the same age bracket whose death was announced Saturday are the second-youngest people in Manitoba to die from the illness, after the death of a boy under the age of 10 last week.

Over half of the deaths announced Sunday are related to outbreaks at personal care homes, including:

  • A man in his 60s from Charleswood Care Centre.
  • A man in his 70s at Kin Place Personal Care Home.
  • A woman in her 80s from Woodhaven Manor.
  • Two women in their 80s from Park Manor Care Home.
  • A woman in her 90s from Holy Family Home.
  • A woman in her 90s from St. Norbert Personal Care Home.
  • A man in his 90s from Gilbert Plains Personal Care Home.

A man in his 70s linked to the outbreak at Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre has also died.

Four others also died, including a woman in her 60s from Winnipeg, a man in his 70s from the Southern Health region, a woman in her 70s from Winnipeg and a man in his 80s from Winnipeg.

This update comes after the province reported a record number of deaths the day previous.

More than 240 COVID-19 deaths were reported in Manitoba in November, and there have now been 84 in the first six days of December alone.

Of the new cases reported, 272 are in Winnipeg, 36 are in the Northern Health region, 36 are in the Southern Health region, 22 are in the Interlake-Eastern health region and 17 are in the Prairie Mountain Health region.

9,195 people have recovered from the virus to date. Active cases are listed as 9,216, but this may be overstated due to a backlog in designating active cases as recovered.

There are 348 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 43 people in intensive care. Those numbers are down slightly from Saturday when there were 349 people in hospital, including 51 in intensive care.

Manitoba’s five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate — a rolling average of the COVID-19 tests that come back positive — is 13.6 per cent, up slightly from 13.1 per cent on Saturday. In Winnipeg, the rate jumped from 14.1 per cent to 14.4 per cent.

The province says 2,231 tests were completed on Saturday, bringing the total number of lab tests completed since early February to 371,453.

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In pandemic politics, timing is everything – Winnipeg Free Press

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Premier Brian Pallister said a disruption in the supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is a good example of why Manitoba has been slow and cautious in its COVID-19 immunization rollout.

Government was prepared for this kind of bump in the road, he said.

However, according to the province’s own figures, Manitoba was falling behind its own vaccine schedule long before the Pfizer vaccine slowdown was announced.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister speaks at a press conference at the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg on Friday.

Pfizer-BioNTech confirmed Friday it plans to delay some vaccine shipments (including to Canada) in the coming weeks to retool its manufacturing plants. Company officials said they expect to catch up by the end of March.

There are no details on how it will affect shipments to the provinces. But there will be a temporary reduction in doses.

Given how far behind Manitoba is in its immunization program, that slowdown may not make much of a difference.

But it does give the Pallister government political cover; the slower the shipments over the next few weeks, the easier it will be to catch up.

“I think this backs up our strategy,” Pallister said Friday. “Our vaccination team has focused a little less on trying to get good, short-term stats by rushing everything out and a little more on better, long-term protections by holding something back.”

Not exactly. The provincial government expressed confidence in the supply chain two weeks ago, announcing there was no longer any need to hold back 50 per cent of doses for followup booster shots.

“I think this backs up our strategy. Our vaccination team has focused a little less on trying to get good, short-term stats by rushing everything out and a little more on better, long-term protections by holding something back.”
— Premier Brian Pallister

Officials argued, rightly, there was enough certainty in the supply chain to rely on future shipments for second doses. They said they would maintain enough supply to meet demand for the following week. Beyond that, there was no plan to build up large inventories.

The province has fallen behind since then. The Pfizer delay buys time to catch up, while claiming plans were always in place for this. That’s why, late Friday, there was an announcement of a pause in new vaccination appointments (even though Pfizer shipments are still coming; there are just going to be fewer of them).

Pallister’s comments make for great political rhetoric, but they collide with the facts.

Manitoba has administered 13,539 doses of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines since the immunization program began in December. The total number of vaccines received to date is 38,890. If all 5,300 doses sent to First Nations earlier this month have been used, it means only 48 per cent of doses have been injected so far. Manitoba was scheduled to receive 7,400 doses of Moderna this week. If those doses have arrived (the province refuses to confirm when it receives shipments), only 41 per cent of doses have been administered. The rest are sitting in freezers.

Manitoba chief provincial public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Manitoba chief provincial public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin.

Nowhere in the Pallister government’s vaccine rollout plan did it say the province planned to stockpile that much inventory in case of a supply disruption.

Part of the reason for Manitoba’s slow rollout is the delay in getting vaccines to residents of personal-care homes. The province had enough inventory to start that program in early January, but didn’t begin until Monday. In a pandemic, every day matters.

The plan is to immunize an estimated 9,834 care-home residents over 28 days. The target for the first week was 1,157, but the number has fallen well short. As of Thursday, only 281 residents had received injections.

Chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin would not provide any explanation for the low number Friday, other than to say there will be more updates next week.

To meet the federal government’s original shipment estimates for January and February (which will now change), Manitoba would have to administer almost 2,400 doses a day.

But just 1,130 people, including care-home residents, were vaccinated between Wednesday and Friday.

The province just can’t seem to get this program off the ground. But now there’s an excuse.

It remains unclear when the Pfizer doses will be delayed, or by how much. But politically, this could be a blessing in disguise for the Pallister government.

tom.brodbeck@freepress.mb.ca

Tom Brodbeck

Tom Brodbeck
Columnist

Tom has been covering Manitoba politics since the early 1990s and joined the Winnipeg Free Press news team in 2019.

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Province claims residents seeing light at end of the COVID-19 tunnel – Nanaimo News NOW

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The optimistic statement from the province comes as the vaccine rollout suffered a blow.

Pfizer ran into production trouble while upgrading their facility, which the province admitted will create a short-term delay in the delivery of some vaccines.

Earlier on Friday, health minister Adrian Dix said the shortage will have a significant effect in February and March when only half of the 50,000 doses expected will be delivered.

Dix said this may mean public health officials will revisit leaving 35 days between the first and second dose of the vaccine, instead of the 21 to 28 days recommended by the World Health Organization. The gap was extended in an effort to provide more of the first dose to more people.

There was good news in Dr. Henry’s statement, which confirmed 509 new COVID-19 cases with 4,604 considered active. This is a decrease of roughly two hundred in two days.

Hospitalizations dipped to 349 with the number of people in critical care at its lowest point since November.

Island Health saw 13 new cases, with 175 considered active. This is a drop of more than 20 cases in two days. Ten people are in hospital for their symptoms including two receiving critical care.

The central Vancouver Island area remains the most affected in the health authority, with roughly two thirds of all active cases.

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COVID-19: B.C. health officials report 509 new cases, nine additional deaths – Vancouver Sun

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Article content continued

Henry and Dix confirmed a new outbreak at Hilltop House, a residential care facility in Squamish.

Total outbreaks in B.C.’s health-care system remain unchanged, however, as the outbreak at Villa Cathay, a downtown Vancouver nursing home, has been declared over.

The outbreak at Wingtat Game Bird Packers, a Surrey poultry plant where at least 30 workers tested positive for the coronavirus in December, has been declared over as well.

“People throughout British Columbia are finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel,” Henry and Dix said. “As of today, thousands of people working and living in long-term care homes, health-care workers and those in remote or at-risk Indigenous communities have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

As well, health officials confirmed a short-term delay in the delivery of some Pfizer vaccines, due to upgrades at the pharmaceutical company’s production facility.

“We are working closely with the federal government to determine how this might impact our immunization rollout in the immediate term, and we will have more to share in the coming days,” they said.


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