Manitoba doctors call for stay-at-home order, closure of non-essential businesses

A group of doctors are calling on the province to take greater steps to protect Manitobans because hospitals are so overwhelmed with people who have COVID-19, patients are at risk of inadequate care.

Six doctors of different specializations say a stay-at-home order and the closing of non-essential businesses are necessary to prevent further loss of life and critical illness, they said in a press release issued on Monday.

The doctors are addressing the media in a video conference call at 10 a.m. CT. today.

They say further restrictions are necessary because the patients they’re caring for in hospitals got sick at work, in malls and schools — places they were allowed to or needed to go. 

“It’s clear that the rules are simply not good enough to get us out of this crisis,” the release says.

As of Monday, there were 88 COVID-19 patients in intensive care — a record high for Manitoba. That doesn’t include the 14 patients who were moved transferred to hospitals in Ontario to increase hospital capacity.

The doctors warn that patients with or without COVID-19 are at risk of inadequate care.

“Anyone who has a serious chronic condition, who may have an early cancer that needs to be diagnosed, or is in need of urgent surgery is now at great risk of not getting the care they need,” the release says.

The doctors say they know there are serious financial and psychological implications of a more strict lockdown, but that lives are at risk.

“The short-term financial pain pales in comparison to the long term financial, psychological and physical damage to Manitobans of a prolonged and ineffective set of restrictions,” the release says.

The release calls for the province to introduce a mandatory paid sick leave as other provinces have done, instead of a voluntary program.

At the beginning of May, the province announced that employers who do not already pay their workers sick leave will get $600 per employee to cover up to five full days of COVID-19-related sick leave.

The sick leave can be taken for COVID-19 testing, vaccination appointments, vaccination side-effects, self-isolation after a positive test or caring for a loved one in any of those circumstances.

The last call to action is for every Manitoban.

The doctors are asking every community member to take whatever actions they can to stay safe, and to stay home, even if the government doesn’t require it.