Canadian COVID-19 hotspot Manitoba flies patients out as infections multiply

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) – Canada’s COVID-19 pandemic hotspot Manitoba said on Tuesday it was planning to fly more critically ill COVID-19 patients to other provinces, as infections multiply.

FILE PHOTO: The Victoria General Hospital is experiencing an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, November 2, 2020. REUTERS/Shannon VanRaes/File Photo

A third wave reached Manitoba later than other provinces, which are now recording fewer daily cases and beginning to loosen public restrictions.

But Manitoba’s rate of daily cases, 233 people per 100,000 during the past week, is highest in Canada and triple the national average, mainly due to the spread in the city of Winnipeg

The province has scrambled to more than double its intensive care unit capacity by cancelling surgeries and occupying other spaces in hospitals.

Even those beds are filling up now and Manitoba has flown 18 critically ill COVID-19 patients to Ontario hospitals in the past few days, officials said. The provincial government is also talking with Saskatchewan and North Dakota officials about receiving patients, they said in a briefing.

No other province has taken such steps.

“Our hospitals are being stretched to the limits right now,” Chief Provincial Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said. “There are hundreds of people struggling for their lives.”

Premier Brian Pallister attributed the spread to Manitobans disobeying public health orders.

A group of doctors, however, urged the Manitoba government to impose a stay-at-home order and close non-essential businesses.

More than 25,000 people have died of COVID-19 in Canada since the pandemic began.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was looking at sending medical staff to Manitoba through the Canadian Red Cross and other support from the Canadian Armed Forces.

Quebec, Canada’s second most-populous province, will continue to ease restrictions and by June 7 all restaurants and gyms will be able to reopen, Premier Francois Legault said.

Source: Read Full Article