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Second wave anxiety and concerns on Manitoba's front line – CTV News Winnipeg



With Manitoba recording dozens of new COVID cases each day recently – anxiety has been building among healthcare workers on the front lines.

Labour leaders in the province say they are hearing of rising concerns about staffing levels, time off, and flex in the system.

“As the numbers increase, the anxiety levels increase,” said Debbie Boissonneault. She is the president of CUPE 204 which represents 14,000 healthcare support workers in Manitoba at about 60 different sites.

She explained that in recent weeks her membership working in hospitals, long-term care homes and clinics have many questions about the second wave.

“Why are people still allowed to come into visit loved ones when the numbers keep going up?” she said. “There’s questions about having people go out from personal care homes and coming back and not being isolated into a room where they could possibly have come into contact with someone with COVID.”

The once flat curve in Manitoba is trending up, with 32 new cases Wednesday and three additional deaths.

“Second place in the country is not where we want to be right now,” said MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky who said she is hearing about burnout and fear of infection from her membership on the front lines.

MGEU represents 10,000 healthcare workers in Manitoba. That includes staff at Selkirk mental hospital, Cadham provincial lab, the addictions foundation of Manitoba, healthcare aides in personal care homes and hospitals, home care attendants and paramedics in Winnipeg.

Gawronsky said it’s time to put the people first.

“Make sure all positions are filled, that they have exhausted all possibilities of having back up staff having people readily available to be able to replace them, making sure the facilities are there as they are needed,” she told CTV news.

Filling vacancies is also a concern of the Manitoba Nurses Union.

“Nurses are absolutely working flat out,” said MNU President Darlene Jackson.

Jackson said Manitoba went into the pandemic with a nursing shortage, including positions in the intensive care unit.

Now that Manitoba is in the second wave, Jackson wants to know when a similar action to the first wave will happen, like surgery cancellations, the opening of additional beds, or reduced visitation.

“There needs to be a plan in place,” Jackson said, “there needs to be some type of plan on how we are going to manage a spike.”

Bob Moroz President of Manitoba Allied Healthcare Professionals wrote of similar concerns from his members in a statement to CTV news.

“Of course there is heightened concern as COVID-19 cases in hospitals are going up,” he wrote.

“They’re concerned about what happens if they or their kids contract the virus and they have to stay home with no pay if they’re out of sick time. They’re concerned about what happens if they lose even more staff to self-isolation requirements or illness, when many departments are already short-staffed and stretched thin. We saw these problems come up early in the pandemic, and here we are again.”

Boissonneault said Winnipeg Metropolitan’s current code orange provides an opportunity for everyone to help prevent a system overload.

“Wearing a mask may not be 100 per cent protection but its better than nothing and we need to do everything we can to flatten the curve.”

A spokesperson for the province said there are sufficient ICU beds in the system and extra capacity is available if needed. They said most ICUs have empty beds or patients on the transfer list.

“(Health Sciences Centre) Winnipeg, Manitoba’s provincial hospital, and other facilities with ICUs continue to provide care to critically ill patients from throughout Manitoba for a variety of issues, including COVID-19,” they said. “The system also has the ability to repurpose resources to increase capacity as needed – including for those patients requiring ICU care.”

They said the province has focussed on protecting staff who provide care to COVID and non-COVID patients, ordering more equipment including ventilators and beds in anticipation of surges, and ensure the necessary PPE is available.

They said the province’s ‘COVID-19 contingency planning’ allows for more space, equipment and supplies to be purchased, and staff to be redeployed to areas that need more support.

“This could include the consideration of potential reduction of elective and non-urgent services like surgeries and diagnostic procedures in order to free up staff who could be redeployed,” they said.

They said at this point the province does not anticipate shutting down areas of the health system in spring 2020. 

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COVID infections in B.C. remain at elevated levels on Friday with 223 new cases



The number of new daily COVID-19 cases in B.C. remains elevated, reaching 223 in the last 24 hours, provincial health officials said Friday afternoon.

That figure – coming a day after the province reported a record high of 274 new daily cases on Thursday – brings the total number of active COVID cases in B.C. to 2,009, with another 4,637 people under active health monitoring after having been exposed to the virus.

Overall, 75 patients are hospitalized and 24 of them are in intensive care, said Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry in a statement. However, there were no new deaths to report in the latest report, and the total death toll remains at 256.

Henry said the continued spike in new COVID cases means that it is time for B.C. residents to again consider reducing social gatherings and limiting contact with others, given the rising numbers recently coincided with private events such as weddings.

“Contact-tracing teams throughout our province are working around the clock to stop further spread, but it requires all of us to do our part to be successful in these efforts,” Henry said in the statement. “This is our opportunity and the time to take a step back from our social interactions and keep our groups small this weekend. In doing this, we show our appreciation and support for the important work of contact tracers.”

It has been a discouraging week in terms of B.C.’s COVID numbers, as Thursday marked the fourth time in six days that the province announced a new record high for daily cases.

The area with the largest number of cases since the start of the pandemic remains the Fraser Health region (6,864), followed by Vancouver Coastal Health (4,319), Interior Health (662), Northern Health (371) and Island Health (250). In total, the province has now seen 12,554 cases of the novel coronavirus – with 10,247 people having recovered since.

Officials did report two new health-facility outbreaks, located at Laurel Place in Surrey and Fair Haven Homes Burnaby Lodge in Burnaby, as well as two new community outbreaks at Langley’s Coast Spa Manufacturing and Surrey’s Pace Processing. With four assisted-living facilities now off the outbreak list, the total number of health-care facilities outbreaks in B.C. now stands at 16.

The following facilities remain on the outbreak list:

Vancouver Coastal Health – 

* Haro Park Centre long-term care facility (second occurrence)

* Point Grey Private Hospital long-term care facility

* Royal Arch Masonic Home long-term care facility (second occurrence)

* Three Links Care Centre long-term care facility

Fraser Health – 

* Al Hogg Pavilion

* Baillie House long-term care facility

* Evergreen Baptist Care Society long-term care facility

* Fair Haven Homes Burnaby Lodge

* Fort Langley Seniors Community long-term care facility

* Good Samaritan Victoria Heights assisted-living facility

* Laurel Place

* Peace Portal Seniors Village long-term care facility

* Rosemary Heights Seniors Village independent, assisted and long-term care facility

* Sunset Manor assisted-living facility

* The Village assisted living and long-term care facility

* Zion Park Manor long-term care facility

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Quebec reports 1,009 new coronavirus cases, 26 more deaths – Montreal Gazette



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Daily cases jumped back above 1,000 Saturday, with 26 new deaths reported and hospitalizations on the rise.

Health Minister Christian Dubé noted the big jump in deaths.

“Let’s think about all the people who have lost a loved one to COVID-19,” he said via Twitter. “Let us continue our collective efforts to ensure that the virus claims as few victims as possible.”

Quebec recorded 1,009 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 99,235, the provincial government announced Saturday morning.

Of the additional deaths reported, five occurred over the past 24 hours.

Seventeen of the new deaths occurred between Oct. 17 and 22, while three occurred before Oct. 17 and the date of another death was unknown.

The death toll is now 6,132.

The number of hospitalizations increased by nine to reach 549.

Among those in hospital, 93 are in intensive care, a drop of six.

On Thursday, 26,542 people were tested. That’s the last day for which screening data is available.

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COVID-19: B.C. officials say step back from social interactions, as 223 cases announced – Standard Freeholder



On Friday, officials reported 223 new cases of COVID-19, including five epi-linked cases for a total of 12,554 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began. There were no new deaths.

B.C.’s provincial health officer is urging British Columbians to “step back” from social gatherings, as 223 new cases of COVID-19, but no additional deaths, were announced Friday.

“This is our opportunity and the time to take a step back from our social interactions and keep our groups small this weekend,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said in a statement. “In doing this, we show our appreciation and support for the important work of contact tracers.”

As of Friday, there are 2,009 active cases of the coronavirus, while another 4,637 individuals are being monitored following identified exposures to confirmed cases.

There remain 75 people hospitalized as a result, 24 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining active cases are at home in self-isolation.

A total of 10,247 people have recovered from the virus, while 256 have died.

Two new health-care facilities are experiencing outbreaks: Laurel Place in Surrey and Fair Haven Homes Burnaby Lodge.

Outbreaks that have been declared over include those at PICS Assisted Living, Good Samaritan Delta View Care Centre, Chartwell Carrington House Retirement Residence and Thornebridge Gardens Retirement Residence.

There remain 16 active outbreaks at long-term care or assisted-living facilities, and two at acute-care facilities.

New outbreaks were declared at two companies — Coast Spas Manufacturing and Pace Processing — along with exposure events around the province.

“In recent days, we have seen a number of new outbreaks of COVID-19 in the community and in long-term care facilities,” said Henry.

“Contact-tracing teams throughout our province are working around the clock to stop further spread, but it requires all of us to do our part to be successful in these efforts.”

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