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'Huge' life-expectancy gap between Winnipeg's neighbourhoods highlights areas in need: experts –



A “huge” gap in life expectancy and overall health between two Winnipeg neighbourhoods points to inequities in levels of income, housing, education and nutrition, experts say, and lays out priorities for future social and health-care planning.

On average, people living in Point Douglas South, which has the shortest life expectancy in the city, die 18 years before people who live in Inskter West, which has the longest, according to data revealed in the latest WRHA community health assessment.

Based on figures from 2012-2016, men in Point Douglas South lived on average to age 69, while men in Inkster West lived on average to 87. Women in Point Douglas South lived on average to age 73, while women in Inkster West lived to 90.

“Those kind of life expectancy gaps are huge,” said Randy Fransoo, a senior research scientist for the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, whose report is a primary source for the Community Health Assessment. 

According to the community assessment, Point Douglas has the highest rates of suicide, hypertension, heart and kidney disease in the city, and the lowest after-tax income, compared to River East North, which had the the highest.

Mothers living in Point Douglas were nine times more likely to receive “inadequate prenatal care” compared to mothers in River East North, despite Point Douglas having the highest birth rate. People living there were more than five times as likely to die from a preventable cause and least as likely to have post-secondary education.

“It is a huge difference. And most of that is related to the social determinants of health, as we call it,” said Fransoo.

Those include a person’s housing, income, nutrition, ethnicity and level of education, according to the medical lead for the primary healthcare (My Health) team for downtown and Point Douglas.

“In urban areas, where there are significant amounts of poverty, not only are the rates of chronic disease higher but the complications associated with those chronic diseases are much higher as well, and that would include things like diabetes, COPD, cardiovascular disease as well as mental health,” said Dr. Michael Hochman.

The report also showed the highest rates of substance use disorder and mental illness, including mood disorders and anxiety, in the inner city.

“These people tend to be quite complex and have very challenging life circumstances and they are quite sick and they typically have a number of medical co-morbidities and are on a number of medications.

“We need to work towards more proactive and preventative strategies to address those larger issues, like homelessness, in order to provide people with enhanced opportunities to take care of themselves.”

Decreased continuity of care, clinic visits

According to the community health assessment, Manitobans’ rates of visits to doctors and nurse practitioners were stable, but the continuity of care decreased across the region overall, and lower-income areas showed fewer visits to doctors and specialists.

Rates of sexually transmitted infections, including syphilis and gonorrhea, are skyrocketing, with a 394 per cent increase in syphilis and 297 per cent increase in gonorrhea between 2014 and 2018. 

“Being more flexible and opportunistic when a patient presents is critical. As well as co-ordinating services, utilizing other capacities like outreach, and going to the patient at times,” said Hochman.

“We have a social worker whose job is specifically to help people navigate support services that they’re entitled to. But if you don’t have ID, if you haven’t paid your taxes, there’s so many benefits that you can’t access.”

Overall health status, life expectancy higher

Across the region, rates of immunization were lower than national targets, including fewer than 65 per cent of children up to date with their measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations, compared to a 95 per cent national target. 

But overall life expectancy was higher across the region, as well as health status, with an increase of about a year for both women (83.4) and men (79.4), fewer hospitalizations and deaths due to heart attack and stroke and a lower mortality rate for all cancers.

“The good news is life expectancy is getting higher, the bad news is the prevalence of chronic disease is also increasing as our population continues to grow and especially to age,” said Fransoo.

“Overall the population is getting healthier. But that doesn’t mean everyone is getting healthier.”

The report is done by each of the five regional health authorities in the province every five years. Both Fransoo and Hochman hope the highlighted inequities lead to action.

“You either invest ahead of time to reduce the long-term risk of these things or you are faced with a larger hill to climb and a larger bill at the end,” said Hochman. 

Life expectancy by neighbourhood, 2012-16

Hover over neighbourhood to see data from WRHA community health assessment. Does not include sub-neighbourhoods.

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Hospitals call for new COVID-19 restrictions – Cambridge Times



TORONTO — Ontario’s premier says the province is experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 and all options are on the table to combat a surge in cases.

Doug Ford says the 700 new cases reported in Ontario today — the highest recorded daily increase since the start of the pandemic — are very concerning.

He says the second wave has the potential to be worse than the first experienced in the spring.

Ford is urging people to follow public health rules to limit the wave’s severity.

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health says the province must work to flatten the curve of the virus again to allow hospitals to respond without being overwhelmed.

Dr. David Williams says people became too casual as virus numbers had improved in late August and must now be more vigilant.

Ford has also announced an additional $52 million to hire 3,700 more nurses and personal support workers to help address the virus.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2020.

By Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press

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Another person dies of COVID-19 in Manitoba –



Another person has died after contracting COVID-19, bringing the number of deaths linked to the virus up to 20 in Manitoba.

The person who died was a man in his 70s from the Prairie Mountain Health region, the province says.

Another 39 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Manitoba on Monday.

There are 22 new known cases in the Winnipeg health region, seven cases each in the Interlake-Eastern and Northern health regions and three in the Southern Health region.

The cases found in northern Manitoba are from a First Nation and they are all close contacts, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said.

There are 618 known active cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba, with 13 people in hospital, including seven in intensive care.

The province is advising the public of more places where people may have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

A second confirmed case of COVID-19 was found at St. Maurice School in Winnipeg.

The person may have been at the school while infectious on Sept. 17 and 18.

So far, contact tracing investigators do not believe the new case is linked to the first case reported at the school.

Further exposures may have happened at: 

  • Denny’s, at 4100 Portage Ave. in Winnipeg, on Sept. 18 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sept. 20 from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • XXI Lounge, at 1011 Pembina Highway in Winnipeg, on Sept. 18 from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Sept. 19 from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

The five-day test positivity rate in Manitoba is still at 2.2 per cent.

There were 2,647 COVID-19 tests performed on Friday, 2,196 on Saturday and 1,596 on Sunday.

The total number of COVID-19 tests done in Manitoba since February is 180,750.

Monday marks the first day code orange restrictions are in effect in Winnipeg and 17 surrounding communities.

Masks must be worn in all indoor public places, and all gatherings — taking place inside or outside — have a 10-person limit.

“We know that all of these actions not only protect ourselves, they protect the people around us, people we love and our community,” he said.

“We encourage Manitobans to step up once again to reduce the transmission of this virus.” 

Roussin told reporters on Monday that the 10-person cap on private gatherings is in addition to the people who live at a residence.

If six people live in a home, an additional 10 people can visit at one time, Roussin said, although he stressed a couple of times that people should try to limit their number of close contacts.

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Hospitals call for new COVID-19 restrictions –



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