Advertisement

New Health Orders Target Unvaccinated Manitobans, Southern Health

Share:

Roussin Most Recent Crop

Although here in Manitoba we’ve more or less enjoyed blue skies, high vaccination rates overall, and low daily case counts throughout the summer, the last two weeks of September demonstrated that the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t finished with us quite yet.

Officials are now warning that, like Alberta and Saskatchewan before us, Manitoba is in the early stages of the long-anticipated fourth wave.

This is particularly true in Southern Health, where vaccination rates in many areas are much lower than the provincial average. These unvaccinated communities are seeing an increase in infections.

Although the Niverville/Ritchot health region has a relatively high vaccination uptake of 82.1 percent, in neighbouring Hanover the rate is only 50.3 percent—and that difference is being felt in the local numbers.

As of Monday, September 4, Niverville/Ritchot had nine active cases, whereas Hanover had 32. The nearby city of Steinbach, with a vaccination rate of 64.9 percent, had 39 cases.

“Our data shows that vaccination works, as the vast majority of hospitalizations and ICU admissions are in people who are unvaccinated,” says Dr. Brent Roussin. “But nearly 400,000 Manitobans are either unable or unwilling to get vaccinated and our healthcare system remains at risk from the delta variant of COVID-19 with case numbers and hospitalizations rising. Today’s announcements are the consequences of that reality.”

To combat the recent rise in cases and help secure the healthcare system, Manitoba has announced a series of new public health orders, some of which specifically target Southern Health, whose numbers are having a disproportionate effect on the province’s COVID-19 response overall.

Starting on Tuesday, October 5, the province as a whole has moved back to the orange level on the pandemic response system. Throughout the summer, the province had been at the yellow level.

That same day, new public health orders came into effect, mostly applying exclusively to those who have chosen to remain unvaccinated despite being eligible:

• limiting private indoor gatherings for households to guests from one other household when any unvaccinated person who is eligible to be vaccinated is present on the property (even if the unvaccinated person lives at that location).
• limiting private outdoor gatherings for households to 10 guests when any unvaccinated person who is eligible to be vaccinated is present on the property (even if the unvaccinated person lives at that location).
• reducing indoor public gathering group sizes to 25 people or 25 percent capacity, whichever is lower, for gatherings that include unvaccinated people who are eligible to be vaccinated, including weddings and funerals.
• setting indoor group sizes for faith-based gatherings to 25 people or 33 percent capacity, whichever is greater, for gatherings that include unvaccinated people who are eligible to be vaccinated.
Fully immunized Manitobans and those under 12 who are not eligible for the vaccine may continue to gather without capacity limits. Household gatherings, weddings, funerals, and faith-based gatherings can occur for fully vaccinated individuals and those under 12 without any restrictions.

Additionally, the new public health orders will:

• reduce all outdoor public gathering sizes to 50 people.
• move retail capacity to 50 percent in the Southern Health-Santé Sud health region to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in this region.

Notably, these rules came into effect just prior to Thanksgiving, which would typically bring people together for larger than usual gatherings.

A press release from the provincial governments notes that future changes to these orders may include requiring all those eligible to be vaccinated to provide proof of vaccination to participate in indoor recreational activities.

In the meantime, Manitoba’s healthcare system is gearing up in anticipation of having to once again handle high numbers of hospital admissions due to COVID-19.

Audrey Gordon, Minister of Health and Seniors care, has warned that steps will need to be taken to guard the province’s critical care capacity.

“COVID-19 has created a heartbreaking backlog of surgeries and other medical procedures right across the country,” says Gordon. “Every new COVID-19 patient that requires hospital or ICU care can delay needed care for someone else… If you want to keep children in schools and ensure that medical procedures people need are not postponed, please get vaccinated now.”

New protocols will be put in place to protect capacity at sites that support patients in intensive care units, as well as those in need of surgery.

Also, patients admitted to a hospital or healthcare facility for care will be assessed for their individual care requirements and may be transferred to the most appropriate facility in Manitoba with the capacity to meet their needs in order to maintain vital ICU capacity. This may mean patients are medically transferred at no cost to another Manitoba facility located outside their home community.

Staffing complements for ICUs are being intensified, with the addition of 137 nurses who have received ICU orientation training since the spring.

At the moment, another 67 nurses are in the process of receiving this training.

Niverville Mayor Pushes Back Against Orders

On Monday, September 4, a day before the new orders were to come into effect, Niverville Mayor Myron Dyck called for the province to reconsider their broad regional approach to the latest health orders.

He has called on Dr. Brent Roussin to meet with him to discuss what could be done.

Specifically, Dyck would like to see Niverville businesses exempted from the rule that lowers retail capacity in Southern Health to 50 percent.

Dyck is concerned that this rule will force local businesses to take a financial hit. He also cited the rule as being a hardship to the staff who are required to enforce them.

In media interviews, Dyck called the broad reduction in retail capacity an “overreach,” considering that Niverville/Ritchot has a vaccination rate above the provincial average.

He further argued that when Winnipeg had the highest case loads during the second wave and was the subject of special regional restrictions, Niverville and its surrounding communities were included in their enforcement since the area is part of the capital region.

Now, however, he says that Niverville is being unfairly penalized for being associated with its rural neighbours.

At the time of publication, there was no word on whether a meeting would be granted to discuss the matter further. On Tuesday, the orders went into effect as originally announced.

Advertisement
More LOCAL NEWS

Niverville Council Meeting in Review—October 19

Niverville’s town council met for their regularly scheduled meeting at the Community Resource and Recreation Centre on the evening of October 19. The meeting was also streamed via Microsoft Teams...

Read more

Niverville’s town council met for their regularly scheduled meeting at the Community Resource and Recreation Centre on the evening of October 19. The meeting was also streamed via Microsoft Teams...

Read more

EnVision: Helping Those with Intellectual Disabilities Thrive

Although many people don’t know about enVision Community Living, chances are most do know somebody whose life has been impacted by their work. EnVision, a non-profit headquartered in Steinbach but...

Read more

Although many people don’t know about enVision Community Living, chances are most do know somebody whose life has been impacted by their work. EnVision, a non-profit headquartered in Steinbach but...

Read more
Advertisement

The Cart and the Cairn: Re-Enacting the Arrival of the Mennonites

A re-enactment of the 1870s Mennonite arrival in Manitoba took place on the morning of October 8. For the occasion, Terry Doerksen of Winnipeg hitched up his 18-month-old ox to a replica Red River...

Read more

A re-enactment of the 1870s Mennonite arrival in Manitoba took place on the morning of October 8. For the occasion, Terry Doerksen of Winnipeg hitched up his 18-month-old ox to a replica Red River...

Read more

Niverville Council Meeting in Review—October 5

Niverville’s town council met on Tuesday, October 5 for a regularly scheduled meeting. There were no public hearings scheduled. The meeting began with a major announcement about town safety...

Read more

Niverville’s town council met on Tuesday, October 5 for a regularly scheduled meeting. There were no public hearings scheduled. The meeting began with a major announcement about town safety...

Read more
Advertisement

Niverville to Get Dedicated RCMP Detachment

On October 5, the news broke that the Town of Niverville will be getting its own dedicated police detachment. It will likely take approximately one and a half years before the new office opens...

Read more

On October 5, the news broke that the Town of Niverville will be getting its own dedicated police detachment. It will likely take approximately one and a half years before the new office opens...

Read more

Local Taxi Business Adds Party Bus

Earlier this year, local businessman Paul Ghuman started his latest venture: the Niverville Party Bus. Ghuman, who also operates Pizza 311 in Niverville, calls this “the ultimate in special...

Read more

Earlier this year, local businessman Paul Ghuman started his latest venture: the Niverville Party Bus. Ghuman, who also operates Pizza 311 in Niverville, calls this “the ultimate in special...

Read more
Advertisement

Truth and Reconciliation Major Theme of Museum Opening

The museum feature inside Niverville’s Community Resource and Recreation Centre (CRRC) was officially unveiled to the public on Thursday, September 30. The ceremony, which coincided with...

Read more

The museum feature inside Niverville’s Community Resource and Recreation Centre (CRRC) was officially unveiled to the public on Thursday, September 30. The ceremony, which coincided with...

Read more
Time until next issue
Citizen Poll

Should Niverville and the RM of Ritchot be subject to public health orders meant to target vaccine hesitancy in Southern Health?

For related article, see link below.
https://nivervillecitizen.com/...