Manitoba

Some elective surgeries delayed, prescriptions limited to 30-day supply in Manitoba response to COVID-19

The province is limiting prescriptions to a 30-day supply and will delay some elective surgeries as part of its response to COVID-19, Manitoba public health officials said Friday. 

No new COVID-19 cases in province Friday morning, public health officials say

Limits on prescription medications and the delay of some non-urgent surgeries were among the announcements made by Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba's chief public health officer, and Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer for Manitoba Shared Health, during their daily briefing Friday on COVID-19 in Manitoba. (Gary Solilak/CBC )

The province is limiting prescriptions to a 30-day supply and will delay some elective surgeries as part of its response to COVID-19, Manitoba public health officials said Friday. 

There are no new confirmed or presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba and the number of cases identified in the province remains at 17, public health officials said Friday morning.

The province also now has a new web page with information about flights that carried passengers infected with COVID-19, said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba's chief public health officer.

He also said prescriptions are now limited to 30-day supplies in response to the pandemic, to prevent the stockpiling of medications and ensure a continued supply.

In addition, some non-essential surgeries will be delayed in order to free up more resources to respond to the pandemic, starting March 23. 

That also will reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for patients who can safely wait, said Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer for Manitoba Shared Health.

Hospitals will still continue with scheduled surgeries that cannot be delayed, such as for cancer and trauma. 

Time-sensitive orthopedic, obstetrical, gynecology and ophthalmology surgeries will also continue, Siragusa said. 

Patients whose surgeries have been delayed will be contacted starting Friday afternoon. If you haven't been called, you can assume your surgery will go ahead as planned, Siragusa said. 

Every surgical slate that is closed frees up a number of nurses, an anesthesiologist and a surgeon to redeploy to a different area, she said. 

The province is also consolidating CancerCare services at two hospitals — Seven Oaks and Victoria — at Victoria Hospital.

No evidence of community-based transmission yet 

So far, 16 of the 17 cases identified in Manitoba have been directly linked to international travel. 

Roussin said they are still investigating the one case that doesn't appear to be linked to travel, but says the case is not a cause for concern.

At this point, there is no evidence of community-based transmission of COVID-19 — meaning transmission involving people who did not contract the illness while travelling — happening in Manitoba, Roussin said. 

As of Friday afternoon, there have been more than 900 cases of COVID-19 identified across Canada. 

Steinbach testing site open, Health Links wait down

A 10th coronavirus testing location opened in Steinbach Friday morning, at 365 Reimer Ave. The site will operate as a drive-thru, with daily hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Testing locations can be found on Shared Health website

There have been 3,354 tests for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 done so far in Manitoba, public health officials said Friday. 

Health Links received a record 2,400 calls on Thursday, and the average wait time for the service is now down to about an hour and 15 minutes, Siragusa said. 

Meanwhile, the province's online self-assessment tool has seen 186,000 hits since its launch, she said.

WATCH | Full March 20, 2020, news conference on COVID-19:

Provincial officials give an update on the COVID-19 outbreak in Manitoba on Friday, March 20, 2020. 37:52

With a file from Bartley Kives