Some hospital patients in Winnipeg could be transferred out of the city, as the province's acute care system braces for respiratory virus season amid ongoing pressures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shared Health, which co-ordinates services in Manitoba, said it is triggering protocols to improve patient flow at hospitals throughout the province.
"This includes efforts to identify and potentially transfer stable patients within our most acute sites whose care needs can be met at another site, including facilities outside a patient’s home region," a spokesman said in a statement Thursday.
"In the days ahead, this may include the transfer of some Winnipeg patients from facilities located in Winnipeg to appropriate facilities in other health regions."
According to Shared Health, five COVID-19 patients were admitted to intensive care Wednesday, bringing the total number of new admissions to 13 in the past seven days.
"These numbers — combined with continued patient flow congestion across the health-care system (particularly in Winnipeg and the Interlake-Eastern health region) and anticipation of the coming respiratory virus season — are expected to place additional pressure on the health-care system over the coming weeks," the statement said.
Shared Health said hospitals across rural and northern Manitoba have capacity, staff and skills to care for a wide variety of health conditions.
"Clinical teams are carefully matching the care needs of any patient identified as appropriate for transport, with the services and skilled staff at the receiving site."
On Thursday, Manitoba public health reported 92 new COVID-19 infections, with the majority of cases coming from Southern Health.
A disproportionately high number of infections continue to be detected in the region, which is home to about 15 per cent of the province’s total population.
Of the 92 cases reported Thursday, 47 were in Southern Health; 34 of the infections were in people who were not fully vaccinated.
A total of 87 patients were being treated for COVID-19 in hospital, including 20 in intensive care as of Thursday morning. According to the province’s pandemic dashboard, nearly 38 per cent of COVID-19 hospital admissions were people from Southern Health.
The region continues to have the lowest vaccine uptake in Manitoba, with 67.5 per cent of the eligible population immunized with at least one dose, as of Thursday.
Cases were reported in all other regions Thursday, including 21 in Northern Health, 15 in Winnipeg, seven in Prairie Mountain and two in Interlake-Eastern.
The five-day test positivity rate was 3.2 per cent provincially and 1.3 per cent in Winnipeg.
No new deaths due to COVID-19 were reported, but the province did provide additional details about four fatalities reported Tuesday and Wednesday.
A woman in her 90s from Prairie Mountain (reported Tuesday), a man in his 50s from Northern Health (reported Tuesday), a woman in her 60s from Winnipeg (reported Tuesday), and a man in his 80s from Southern Health (reported Wednesday) died after catching COVID-19.
Manitoba’s pandemic death toll was 1,235, as of Thursday afternoon.
According to the provincial government, public health enforcement officers issued a total of 12 tickets over the past week.
Between Oct. 11 and 17, five $1,296 tickets were levied against people for various offences; five tickets of $298 were given to people for failing to wear a mask in an indoor public place; two tickets of $5,000 were issued to businesses.
Manitoba Justice said both Planet Fitness on Leila Avenue and Tim Hortons at 1609 Kenaston Blvd. in Winnipeg received a $5,000 fine. Lee-Anna’s Diner in Marquette was issued four fines of $1,296 for unspecified offences.
Forty-one warnings were also issued that week.
Shared Health has reported that 176 direct-care health workers were on unpaid leave as of the end of day Wednesday.
That included 99 workers in Southern Health, 26 in the Interlake-Eastern and 26 in the Prairie Mountain regions.
Twenty workers from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority were on unpaid leave. Shared Health had five and Northern Health had two.
The workers refuse to reveal their vaccination status and also refuse to be tested for COVID-19.