‘Our capacity is not infinite’: Manitoba health-care system seeing strain

WINNIPEG — Manitoba health officials said surging COVID-19 cases in Manitoba is starting to overwhelm health-care workers and is pushing hospitals closer to capacity.

During Friday’s COVID-19 update, the province revealed there are currently 231 people in hospital across the province, with 34 people in intensive care. A total of 437 new cases were announced on Friday.

“Our health-care system can’t sustain numbers like this daily – we are seeing serious strain on the health-care system. Hospitals are nearing capacity,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer. “Health-care providers are doing their best for Manitobans, but are becoming overwhelmed.”

“Each day, we report case numbers, and we add to the active case numbers in our province,” said Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer with Shared Health. “Each day, we report hospitalization statistics and update Manitobans on our situation in critical care. But our capacity is not infinite.”

“Multiple days of 300 and 400 cases strike fear about what the impact will be on our bed and our staff in the days and weeks to follow.”

The province now has 93 intensive care unit beds. As of Friday morning, 85 of the beds were filled, with 34 occupied by COVID-19 patients.

“26 of the 63 patients on ventilators this morning have COVID-19,” she said.

Manitoba has also postponed 553 non-urgent and elective surgeries since Oct. 26 to help free up space for COVID-19 patients.

“Efforts to increase this capacity among the health system are ongoing, but I don’t want to understate the strain that these number place on our health-care system, and the strain this then places on health-care workers,” Siragusa said.

“Each day, we report case numbers, and we add to the active case numbers in our province. Each day, we report hospitalization statistics and update Manitobans on our situation in critical care. But our capacity is not infinite”

During the press conference, Siragusa shared some messages she has received from health-care workers, who say they are struggling, and praised the new Code Red restrictions.

“Shutting things down for now gives us a chance to hold our health-care system together, but even with the lockdown, our hospitals need to brace for a very few tough weeks,” Siragusa said in one message shared.

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