Record-setting trend in COVID-19 ICU admissions continues with 109 Manitobans now in critical care

Manitoba marked a third consecutive day of record intensive care admissions on Tuesday, with more than 100 seriously ill COVID-19 patients spread out in Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan.

Province reports 3 more deaths, 232 cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba on Tuesday

Hospital ICUs have been packed with COVID-19 patients for days, some of whom have had to be sent to neighbouring provinces in order to make room for others. (Mikaela MacKenzie/The Canadian Press)

Manitoba marked a third consecutive day of record intensive care admissions on Tuesday, with more than 100 seriously ill COVID-19 patients now spread out in Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan.

There are 109 Manitoba COVID-19 patients in intensive care units, up two from the record set on Monday. That includes 72 in Manitoba, 36 transferred to hospitals in Ontario and one sent to Saskatchewan, an online Shared Health update said.

Premier Brian Pallister thanked Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe for creating much-needed space for critically ill Manitobans.

"We had doubled the capacity in our province, a significant increase, but it's not proving to be enough.... We very much appreciate that help," he said at a press conference on Tuesday marking the end of the legislative session. 

The normal pre-pandemic baseline capacity for intensive care in Manitoba was 72 patients, according to Shared Health.

Seven COVID patients were admitted to local ICUs in a 24-hour period ending at noon on Monday, continuing an unprecedented trend that has seen admission numbers well above normal, Shared Health says.

Three COVID-19 patients were transported to Ontario on Monday for ongoing care, while two were sent back to Manitoba from Ontario, according to Shared Health.

Fifteen of Manitoba's current ICU patients are under the age of 40.

ICU patients from Winkler and Morden

Many of the recent admissions are patients from the Winkler and Morden area, says an anesthetist and special care unit physician at the area's hospital.

Last weekend was overwhelming at the Boundary Trails Health Centre, which is between the two southern Manitoba cities, says Dr. Ganesan Abbu.

"[Shared Health] said this was the busiest weekend for Winnipeg ICUs or Manitoba ICUs, and we accounted for about 40 per cent of the transfers into Brandon and Winnipeg," he said. "It was significant."

Boundary Trails Health Centre has seen an influx of COVID-19 patients in the past couple of weeks. The Winkler-Morden-area hospital accounted for about 40 per cent of the transfers into Brandon and Winnipeg last weekend, says one of the hospital's doctors. (Google Street View)

Abbu says with a 16-hour span, staff at Boundary Trails transferred four intubated patients to Winnipeg, about 100 kilometres to the northeast, or Brandon, about 150 kilometres to the northwest.

He says they had to hold on to one ventilated patient for seven hours because there were no ICU beds available. That patient was only accepted after another ICU patient was flown out of province, Abbu says.

Winkler has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Manitoba, at just under 25 per cent, according to the province's vaccination data dashboard. The rate in the surrounding Stanley district is about 13 per cent.

The province is also reporting 232 new cases of COVID-19 and three deaths from the illness on Tuesday, two of which are linked to the highly transmissible B117 coronavirus variant, a provincial news release said.

Of the new COVID-19 cases, the majority are in the Winnipeg health region, which posted 168 new infections. There are also 36 new cases in the Southern Health region, 13 in the Northern Health Region, 10 in the Interlake-Eastern health region and five in the Prairie Mountain Health region.

There have now been 51,316 COVID-19 cases identified in Manitoba since the start of the pandemic, of which 4,333 are considered active.

All three deaths were in the Winnipeg area, including a woman in her 50s, a man in his 60s and a woman in her 80s. 

That brings the total number of deaths due to COVID-19 in the province to 1,056.

Pallister appreciative of 'dedicated people'

A total of 305 Manitobans are hospitalized with COVID-19, down by three from the day before.

When Manitoba's premier addressed the public last week, he was critical of people who weren't getting tested for COVID-19 and those who hadn't been vaccinated.

On Tuesday, he focused instead on complimenting those doing the right thing.

"I'm especially appreciative of all the dedicated people out there in our province that have followed the health orders, that are going out and getting vaccinated, that are doing the right things to get us through this thing," he said.

WATCH | Pallister on people who are 'doing the right things':

Pallister thanks Manitobans doing the right thing

4 months ago
Premier Brian Pallister changed his tune and instead of criticizing those who are breaking public health rules, expressed appreciation for those who are following them. 1:28

The province also reported 598 newly identified cases of more contagious coronavirus variants, Manitoba's online variant dashboard says. There are 2,594 active cases across the province involving variants of concern.

On Monday, 2,396 COVID-19 tests were done in Manitoba.

Hospital outbreaks declared

The province announced a number of COVID-19 outbreaks in hospital units on Tuesday.

In Winnipeg, there are outbreaks in the GD4 unit at Health Sciences Centre and in Unit 3 South at Grace Hospital. In Dauphin, the surgery unit of the health centre also has an outbreak.

The province also declared an outbreak at Beacon Hill Personal Care Home in Winnipeg.

There were a number of potential COVID-19 exposures on board various Winnipeg Transit routes from late in May. A full list of those exposures can be found on the province's website.

Vaccine eligibility expands

The province announced that more people are eligible to book their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Tuesday.

Those who received their first dose on or before April 13 can now book their second-dose appointment. 

You can book appointments on the province's website or by calling 1-844-626-8222.

More than 11,000 doses of vaccine were scheduled to be given Tuesday, according to the province's online vaccine dashboard, and 62 per cent of people 12 and up have received at least one dose.

The latest update comes after the province reported 303 new COVID-19 cases and one death on Monday. However, officials said due to technical issues, Monday's case total was an undercount.


Rachel Bergen is a journalist for CBC Manitoba and previously reported for CBC Saskatoon. Find her on Twitter at @r_bergen or email her at

With files from Bryce Hoye


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?