Manitoba’s chief public health officer will give an update on the province’s efforts against COVID-19 Thursday.
Dr. Brent Roussin has scheduled a media briefing for 12:30 p.m. Global News will stream it live in this story.
On Wednesday Premier Brian Pallister announced 900 health-care workers will be the first in Manitoba to receive a COVID-19 vaccine after doses start to arrive in the province as early as next week.
The workers in four critical care units will be followed by other health-care staff, seniors and Indigenous people as more batches of the vaccine arrive.
Manitoba is still working out the logistics of how to distribute the vaccine, approved by Health Canada and developed by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German partner BioNTech.
The province hopes to vaccinate more than 100,000 people by March, which is roughly seven per cent of the population. Clinics are planned for Winnipeg, Brandon, Thompson and other communities.
Roussin said Wednesday that well over 60 per cent of the population would need to get the vaccine to see some effect of herd immunity.
Health officials reported 279 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday and 18 deaths. The daily case count has started to drop since tight restrictions on public gatherings and business openings were introduced in November.
But Wednesday marked the second-highest number of deaths reported in a single day, after 19 fatalities were reported Saturday.
The province announced earlier this week that most of the restrictions will continue into early January, including a ban on gatherings of more than five people.
Wednesday’s cases bring the province’s total reported since March to 19,655, and 438 Manitobans with the virus have died.
Hospitalization rates continued a downward trend Wednesday, with 300 patients with COVID-19 reported in hospital, with 38 in ICU.
–With files from The Canadian Press
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.
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