A roundup of COVID-19 developments for Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021 – Winnipeg Free Press

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We know how vulnerable nursing homes were and still are to COVID. 

We saw how they became viral killing fields in the earlier waves despite the repeated warning signs.

We understand why the province finally moved to add another layer of protection for personal care homes by demanding front-line staff be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 if they wanted to avoid repeated testing in order to keep working.

So here’s the good news that comes from that health order issued Aug. 24 — and the bad news.

In a story running in tomorrow’s Free Press, Danielle Da Silva found a majority of those caring for our most vulnerable are double vaxxed. In many cases, the reported staff vaccination levels are above 90 per cent, leaving fewer than half a dozen staff unvaccinated at a given facility.

Alas, the one region where the fourth wave is already leading to rising COVID case levels is also the one region where far too many front-line staff haven’t bothered to get in line for a vaccination. Within the Southern Health region, home to low-vaxx communities such as Winkler, Altona and Steinbach, up to a third of those front-line workers are refusing to get the shot.

“They have quite a few staff that are not vaccinated, that don’t intend to get vaccinated, and that’s going to create some problems for them in the upcoming weeks,” said Julie Turenne-Maynard, executive director of the Manitoba Association of Residential and Community Care Homes for the Elderly. 

At one level, this is hardly surprising as those health care workers refusing to roll up their sleeves for the shot reflect the trend in their communities. 

But at another level, it is so damn disturbing. And disappointing. And discouraging.

As a province, we have gone through a lot during these past 18 months, but perhaps no greater price was paid than by those in our nursing homes. Far too many of them lost their lives. For those who made it this far, far too much of the pandemic has been spent in lockdown, unable to even have visits from those they love. 

Rapid tests aren’t about protection as they offer only surveillance. At this point in the pandemic our most vulnerable deserve more than surveillance of those paid to care for them — they deserve the protection that comes from fully vaccinated staff. 

Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen in a huge swath of our province where so much of our fight against COVID is now going south.

— Paul Samyn, Winnipeg Free Press editor

THE LATEST NUMBERS

Chart showing daily status cumulative counts of positive COVID-19 cases

 

Chart showing daily status cumulative counts of positive COVID-19 cases

 

Chart showing number of active cases of COVID-19 by health district

 

Graphic showing vaccination rates in Manitoba health districts

 

Graphic showing daily number of vaccine doses administered in Manitoba

 

Chart showing percentage of partial and fully vaccinated people in each province

 

Chart showing number of new cases, per capita, in each province in the last 14 days

To see a larger selection of charts showing the state of COVID-19 provincially and nationally, visit COVID-19 by the numbers.  

 

THE LATEST IN MANITOBA

 Some K-12 schools in Manitoba are already closing amid a spike in COVID-19 cases, less than one month into the school year. The province’s online dashboard showed last week 56 students, staff and visitors at learning facilities had tested positive for the coronavirus since Sept. 7. That number has more than doubled in a week’s time to 133. Austin Elementary School in the Pine Creek School Division is believed to be the first public school in Manitoba to make the switch to distance learning since the academic year began, and it plans to continue operating remotely until at least Oct. 4. Austin is part of the Southern Health region, which accounts for 40 per cent of the 366 new cases identified in the province from Sept. 24-27. Charles Sinclair School in Fisher River Cree Nation, and Waywayseecappo Community School, also announced temporary closures this week. 

For the latest information on current public health orders, restrictions and other guidance, visit the provincial government’s website. 

All Manitobans born on or before Dec. 31, 2009 are eligible to schedule a first-dose vaccine appointment. Anyone who has received a first dose of any vaccine can now book their second-dose appointment. There must be a minimum of 28 days between receiving the first and second shots. For the latest information on vaccination, visit the provincial government’s website.

Manitobans who have received all required doses of a vaccine at least 14 days ago can request an immunization card to prove complete vaccination. To request a digital or physical card, visit the provincial government’s website.   

THE LATEST ELSEWHERE

Quebec plans to lift public health restrictions on venues and events with assigned seating soon, but its health minister warned the province’s progress in the fight against COVID-19 is fragile. Christian Dube said Thursday the new rules start Oct. 8, and apply to venues such as arenas, stadiums, theatres and cinemas. Montreal’s Bell Centre will be permitted to operate at full capacity for the Canadiens’ home game against the New York Rangers Oct. 16. Attendees will have to provide proof of vaccination, and masks must be worn except when eating and drinking. However, the rule change only applies to organized events; a 10-person capacity limit remains in effect for private gatherings at homes. Dube said other restrictions won’t likely be lifted unless the province’s situation remains stable after October.

Cuba’s capital Havana reopened its beaches and recreation centres Thursday after authorities announced it was time to resume outdoor activities. Officials said the government decided to push ahead with the reopening because the city boasts a 90 per cent vaccination rate among residents and a declining case count. The reopening was announced Tuesday among other rule relaxations, including letting restaurants permit indoor dining again and shortening the hours of a nighttime curfew. However, some restrictions remain. The Tribuna de La Habana newspaper reported masks are still mandatory at beaches and pools, except when bathers go into the water, and that swimming pools are running at 50 per cent capacity. Authorities also said they would not increase bus service to the beaches, as is normally done in hot weather, and popular food spaces would not be allowed to reopen on the shore.

Romania recorded 12,032 coronavirus cases Thursday, its highest daily infection count since the pandemic began. In the last month, Romania’s infections have risen from about 1,000 cases a day to the record reported Thursday. There are 1,364 COVID-19 patients in intensive care, close to the ICU capacity at a national level. Romania has the European Union’s second-lowest vaccination rate, with just 34 per cent of all adults fully vaccinated. Data published by health authorities indicated between Sept. 20-26, nearly 75 per cent of reported cases and 92 per cent of deaths occurred among unvaccinated people. Romania, which has a population of approximately 19 million, has registered more than 1.2 million confirmed cases and 37,041 confirmed deaths.  

QUOTE, UNQUOTE

“Good news for hockey fans, it’s good news for the economy, it’s good news for culture, I think it’s good news for everybody… Quebecers have paid a high price over the last year and a half and we said when you would be vaccinated, you could have some benefits, those are the benefits they were expecting.”

— Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube on the province’s decision to relax restrictions on some venues, including arenas and stadiums. 

 

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