Brandon vaccination site gets prepped

·6 min read

On a day Manitoba saw fewer than 100 new COVID-19 cases, the federal government announced it will receive an additional 20 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the spring.

"We were obviously very happy to hear about the increase in doses that will be available through the federal government," said Dr. Joss Reimer, a medical officer of health with Manitoba Health and Seniors Care and a member of Manitoba’s COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation Task Force.

"We will be increasing our roll up to meet whatever amount of doses are available to us. We will redo the numbers and be sure that we have estimates available once we have more clarification from the government about what allotment we can expect to receive from them."

Reimer said at the Tuesday briefing for the press the task force is working on the numbers, but she did not disclose those numbers.

Roughly 3,500 doses are being shipped to Brandon to launch the vaccination site at the Keystone Centre, set to open Jan. 18. Following that, portions of weekly shipments will be allocated to Brandon based on supply and demand.

A spokesperson for the province confirmed 67 new people have been hired to staff the site.

"We have projected the number of staff for the first few weeks of the super site in Brandon. Some staff will have been reassigned from the region and others will be new hires," the spokesperson stated by email.

"We expect to need 44 immunizers, 44 navigators, seven clinical leads, seven observers and two clinic managers by the end of March. This may be adjusted as people are placed in their new roles and on the volume of immunizations scheduled," a provincial spokesperson told The Brandon Sun late Monday.

When asked what lessons have been learned at Winnipeg’s super site that would make the Brandon site more effective, Reimer spoke of navigators.

"The team there has been incredibly successful in setting up a very efficient and safe clinic. There’s so many lessons learned that we could potentially share with Brandon. Some of the things that have worked particularly well are the navigators that they have set up to assist people to move through the clinic in a way that is safe and keeping them separate from other people attending the clinic," Reimer said.

"The storage has worked quite well for the vaccine on site. We’ve had great supervision of our immunizers so that when they do have questions or concerns, there’s always somebody available to provide them with that backup and that expertise to ensure that they are able to provide the vaccine in a safe mechanism for all of the people coming through the clinic."

Individuals hired to work in Brandon will train and work in Brandon. The in-person component of training is being delivered at Assiniboine Community College.

Immunizations at personal care homes in the Prairie Mountain Health region are set to begin later this week and will be done by existing regional staff or personal care home staff, the spokesperson stated.

"The site’s medical director or nurse practitioner writes an order for the vaccine if appropriate, after considering the patient’s medical history. The (personal care home) is then responsible for obtaining consent from the resident or alternate decision-maker," they stated.

Reimer said the vaccine implementation task force is trying to use all the vaccine it has available, and not holding doses back for the required second shot.

The Sun will tour the Keystone Centre site tomorrow. Premier Brian Pallister and Minister of Health and Seniors Care Heather Stefanson are scheduled to attend the site.

TUESDAY'S COVID-19 UPDATE

The COVID-19 update from the province on Tuesday saw eight additional deaths listed, including one patient from the Prairie Mountain Health region – a female in her 70s linked to the McCreary/Alonsa Health Centre outbreak.

The province reported 92 new cases. The new cases are as follows:

- nine cases in the Interlake–Eastern health region;

- nine cases in the Northern health region;

- 22 in the Prairie Mountain Health region;

- eight cases in the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region; and

- 44 cases in the Winnipeg health region.

The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate was 10.1 per cent in the province, and 8.4 per cent in Winnipeg.

Lab-confirmed cases in Manitoba total 26,540, with 748 deaths or 2.82 per cent. One death was removed yesterday due to a data error.

There are currently 3,100 active cases in the province, with 22,692 individuals who have recovered from COVID-19.

The province also reported 138 people are in hospital with active COVID-19, as well as 164 people in hospital with COVID-19 who are no longer infectious but continue to require care, for a total of 302 hospitalizations.

Twenty-one people are in intensive care units with active COVID-19, as well as 14 people with COVID-19 who are no longer infectious but continue to require critical care, for a total of 35 ICU patients.

In the Prairie Mountain Health region, there are 214 active cases, with 1,482 recovered. There are 14 people hospitalized, with no patients in ICU, and a total of 41 deaths.

Brandon’s active case count is 66, with 782 recovered and 19 deaths.

Sunday, 1,368 tests were completed, for a total of 441,905 since February.

» Source: Province of Manitoba

PRAIRIE MOUNTAIN HEALTH OUTBREAK NUMBERS

As of Jan. 11, the status of COVID-19 outbreaks in Prairie Mountain Health was as follows:

• Brandon Correctional Centre: 108 total cases, 18 staff infected, 90 non-staff infected, one active case, 107 recovered, zero death.

• McCreary/Alonsa Health Centre: 42 total cases, 14 staff infected, 28 non-staff infected, 40 active cases, zero recovered, two death.

• Fairview Personal Care Home: 109 total cases, 41 staff infected, 68 non-staff infected, 0 active cases, 92 recovered, 17 deaths.

• Gilbert Plains Personal Care Home: 42 total cases, 18 staff infected, 24 residents infected, one active case, 32 recovered, nine deaths.

• Grandview Personal Care Home: 37 total cases, 12 staff infected, 25 residents infected, one active cases, 31 recovered, five deaths.

Note: An outbreak is considered over one incubation period (14 days) after the final active case.

» Source: Province of Manitoba

COVID-19 ENFORCEMENT UPDATE

The province reported that between Jan. 4 and 10 a total of 249 warnings and 48 tickets were issued, including:

• 33 $1,296 tickets to individuals for various offences;

• eight tickets to individuals for failure to wear a mask in indoor public places; and

• six $5,000 tickets to businesses.

Twenty-two of the 33 $1,296 tickets issued last week were in relation to gatherings in private residences that were reported through the COVID Tip Line.

Since enforcement efforts began in April, a total of 2,211 warnings and 720 tickets have been issued, resulting in more than $1 million in fines to businesses and individuals.

The province advised that as Manitoba continues to enjoy unseasonably warm January temperatures, enforcement will maintain an ongoing presence at outdoor recreational venues to ensure compliance with public health orders. People are reminded to practice the fundamentals. Do not gather in groups of more than five and maintain a separation of at least two metres unless you reside at the same residence.

» Source: Province of Manitoba

Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun