Text supports to be used for COVID-19 communications

·4 min read

The province is adding text messaging to its COVID-19 communication toolbox.

"Text messages will now be used to support case and contact monitoring on a daily basis, in addition to phone calls from contact tracers and automated phone messages," said acting deputy chief provincial public health officer Dr. Jazz Atwal Thursday afternoon.

Text will serve a number of functions: as an alert that test results are available on the Manitoba COVID-19 online result display, in combination with other support during isolation, as an opportunity to confirm isolation status, to report changes in symptoms, and to request direct contact from a contact tracer.

"Over the next few days, this service will be ramped up so that more of the individuals self-isolating will receive texts as part of case and contact monitoring. Text messages are another way public health officials interact with Manitobans and, similar to a phone call, it’s important that the public respond to these text messages as soon as possible to improve the speed and accuracy of our efforts to stop the spread of COVID," Atwal said.

Lanette Siragusa, provincial lead for health system integration and quality and chief nursing officer for Shared Health then took the press present at the virtual meeting through hospitalization numbers: 117 hospitalized with active COVID-19 and 16 people in intensive care with active COVID-19.

As for personal care homes, Siragusa said staffing is fairly stable related to meeting the demands of the pandemic.

"(There’s) quite a bit of focus is on community outbreaks. We’re working with the regional health authorities and partners to make sure that people have safe spaces to isolate whether it be in their regions or coming to Winnipeg," she said.

"That work is ongoing."

Atwal noted the province is behind on updating active cases in the province – rather than 2,866, the reality is closer to 1,394.

"Work is being done to correct that administrative issue," he said.

Regarding public consultations, which have been promised so that Manitobans can provide input on a way forward when it becomes possible to ease restrictions, Atwal said that’s still in the planning phase.

"When we’re ready, that information will be provided to the public," he said.

The COVID-19 update from the province on Thursday saw two additional deaths listed, including one patient from the Prairie Mountain Health region – a male in his 90s linked to the McCreary/Alonsa Health Centre outbreak.

The province reported 261 new cases, but two cases were removed due to data correction, bringing yesterday’s new cases to 259

The new cases are as follows:

- 11 cases in the Interlake–Eastern health region;

- 139 cases in the Northern health region;

- 23 in the Prairie Mountain Health region;

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

- 75 cases in the Winnipeg health region.

The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate was 10 per cent in the province, and 7.1 per cent in Winnipeg.

Lab-confirmed cases in Manitoba total 26,954, with 755 deaths or 2.8 per cent.

There are currently 2,866 active cases in the province, with 23,313 individuals who have recovered from COVID-19

The province also reported 117 people are in hospital with active COVID-19, as well as 173 people in hospital with COVID-19 who are no longer infectious but continue to require care, for a total of 290 hospitalizations.

Sixteen people are in intensive care units with active COVID-19, as well as 21 people with COVID-19 who are no longer infectious but continue to require critical care, for a total of 37 ICU patients.

In the Prairie Mountain Health region, there are 218 active cases, with 1,511 recovered. There are 18 people hospitalized, with no patients in ICU, and a total of 43 deaths.

Brandon’s active case count is 73.

Wednesday, 2,333 tests were completed, for a total of 446,018 since February.

» Source: Province of Manitoba

As of Jan. 11, the status of COVID-19 outbreaks in Prairie Mountain Health were 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, 37 active cases, one recovered, four 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, 1 active case, 32 recovered, nine deaths.

• Grandview Personal Care Home: 37 total cases, 12 staff infected, 25 residents infected, 1 active cases, 31 recovered, five deaths.

• St. Paul’s Personal Care Home: No information

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

» Source: Province of Manitoba

Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun