137 Manitoba health-care workers test positive for COVID-19 within 1 week

Nearly 140 health-care workers tested positive for COVID-19 between Dec. 13 and 19, according to a provincial respiratory illness surveillance report published on Monday.

That brings the total number of health-care workers who have tested positive to 1,485 as of Dec. 19 — however, 1,364 have recovered.

In a report the week before, there were 1,348 cases. In a week, the case numbers increased by 137.

Of the cases among health-care workers, more than half — 853 — are allied health workers and support staff. Nurses account for 426 cases, while 57 are doctors or physicians in training and 29 are first responders. 

There are 120 cases where the profession isn’t identified.

The most common cause for transmission is close contact with a known case. That happened in 58 per cent of cases, according to the report. 

Community transmission is linked to 28.8 per cent of cases.

CBC News has reached out to Shared Health to break down the regions where these health-care workers are based as well as their professions.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Shared Health’s Chief Nursing Officer Lanette Siragusa says sick time taken in Winnipeg health-care centres this past week was down slightly, but still concerning.

There were about 107,000 hours lost to sick time in the most recent two-week period, she says, however that’s down about 6,000 hours from earlier this month, she said.

Those hours equate to about 1400 eight-hour shifts per week.

“The reasons why staff may be sick or away, we can’t always say it’s because of COVID. However, these high levels of sick time being used now when we really don’t have influenza circulating would strongly suggest that it’s tied to staff who are either tested positive for COVID or have been identified as contacts of another case and need to isolate,” she said.