Friday’s provincial COVID-19 update held a sweet spot, despite the sad news 14 more Manitobans, aged 50 to 110, succumbed to the virus.
Once chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin completed his somber announcements of yesterday’s numbers and repeated his daily messaging that Manitobans need to follow public health orders and stay home, Lanette Siragusa shared a story and images with the press and other viewers.
Students from two schools showered health care workers in their area with messages of appreciation this past week.
“I would like to begin today by thanking the Grade 8 students at H.C. Avery Middle School in the Seven Oaks School Division, who are led by their teacher Caitlyn Bartecki. I also want to thank Linda Andres’ Grade 3 class at Happy Thought School in Lord Selkirk School Division,” said Siragusa, provincial lead of health system integration and quality and chief nursing officer with Shared Health.
“These messages provide a much-needed boost to staff morale, at a time when they are feeling stressed and tired and sometimes scared. Knowing their work is appreciated by some of our youngest Manitobans is a great motivator. I would like to sincerely thank these students for the creative way that they’re showing their support for health care workers, and please know that we love it very much.
Meanwhile, Roussin was eyeing the weekend with concern.
“The weekend is coming up,” he said.
“There’s always those urges to get together with others or to run non-essential errands. My ask to you is to stay home.”
Roussin said his message has been clear and unwavering.
“We need to stay home as much as possible. This is the only way to ensure we’re decreasing our amount of contacts. We have to ensure we’re going to bring these case numbers down.”
He said it’s not forever, but it’s what we need right now to reduce the strain on the healthcare system.
“Pandemic exhaustion is very real, and it can exasperate feelings of anxiety and stress and depression,” said Siragusa.
“We want Manitobans to know that we continue to do everything possible that we can to support support these issues, including expanding our virtual appointments. We are here to help if you need us.”
Roussin also announced a new contact-tracing tool.
“This is a form that will be available at the testing site to Manitobans to list their contacts at that time,” he said.
The form can be filled out at the time of testing so that there isn’t a delay in recalling contacts.
“For those who do end up testing positive, we’ll have a record already in place, which will expedite further the contact investigation. It will help Manitobans track who they came into contact with, as well,” said Roussin.
Another bit of sweet news is that due to the critical red public health orders in place, the early worst-case scenario projected by the province is not happening.
“Those projections were calling for 800 cases a day starting November 22nd and 1,000 cases a day in the first week of December. So we can see that the restrictions have changed those outlooks,” said Roussin.
“We’re going to continue to rerun the modelling over time.”
New projections for December, based on the current context, are not yet available.
“I can say, I think it was December 6, we were projecting 1,000 cases a day, under those old models. We were tracking at the worst-case scenario. We were tracking as if we had no public health restrictions on and no-one was adhering to public health messaging,” Roussin said,
“We can see our numbers now — certainly not where we need them to be — but they didn’t grow at that worst-case scenario amount.”
Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun