Surgeries cancelled, more people in ICU in Manitoba due to pandemic

WINNIPEG — As Manitoba’s COVID-19 cases continue to grow, the province’s chief nursing officer confirmed on Wednesday the pressures of the pandemic are starting to impact the province’s ICU occupancy and surgeries.

Lanette Siragusa, the chief nursing officer for Shared Health, said during the province’s COVID-19 update that the ICU capacity is continuing to be further stretched.

On Wednesday, Siragusa said ICU space is currently 92 per cent occupied, which is higher than it was on Monday. In Winnipeg, of the regions 71 critical care beds, only six remain empty, though she added not everybody in ICU has COVID-19. Siragusa added 35 ventilators are also being used. 

As of Wednesday, 19 people in Manitoba are in ICU due to COVID-19.

Siragusa said Manitoba has also already cancelled 43 surgeries.

“Some of them are because of staff who are at home isolating, and others are in relation to changes that we’ve made to protect our staff and using PPE,” Siragusa said.

The majority of the surgical cancellations are at St. Boniface Hospital, where an outbreak of COVID-19 has been reported.

On Monday, health officials said a surgical team at St. Boniface is self-isolating after someone with COVID-19 symptoms gave misleading responses to screening questions.

“We need the public to be honest with screeners, and answer those questions honestly,” noting people will not be denied care if they are showing COVID-19 symptoms.

Currently, 37 healthcare workers in Manitoba have tested positive for COVID-19, with 32 working in Winnipeg. Three were working in Prairie Mountain Health, while one worker was working in the Southern Health region, and one person in the Interlake-Eastern health region.

Of the cases, 18 contracted COVID-19 from coming into close contact with a confirmed case.

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