'We're at a critical point,' Manitoba's top doctor says as 365 new COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths announced

Manitoba's top doctor is mulling further restrictions as a record number of people with COVID-19 fill hospital beds and intensive care units.

'One of our own has fallen,' Shared Health chief nursing officer says after health-care worker dies

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba's chief public health officer, and Lanette Siragusa, provincial lead, health system integration, and chief nursing officer for Shared Health, provided a COVID-19 update for Manitoba on Monday. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

Manitoba's top doctor is mulling further restrictions as a record number of people with COVID-19 fill hospital beds and intensive care units.

Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin announced 365 new cases and three deaths on Monday. There have been 2,200 cases in the past seven days.

The test positivity rate for Manitoba rose to 9.5 per cent, which is a record; it's 9.3 per cent in Winnipeg.

About two-thirds of the new cases are in the Winnipeg health region.

Roussin said he met with Premier Brian Pallister to discuss further restrictions.

"We're at a critical point where we need to change these dynamics," Roussin said. "We need to make change right now on the demand on our health-care system."

The update comes after Manitoba breached the grim milestone of 100 COVID-19 deaths over the weekend, with several deaths linked to personal care home outbreaks. The overall death toll is now at 109.

WATCH | Roussin hints at more restrictions:

Roussin hints that more restrictions could be on the way

2 years ago
Duration 1:43
Manitoba's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin says Manitobans need to be doing more to protect the most vulnerable from COVID-19, and more restrictions could be on the way.

The death of a Winnipeg woman in her 80s is tied to the outbreak at Victoria Hospital, and a man in his 70s and a man in his 90s from the Southern Health Region have also died.

A record 192 people are in hospital, 28 of them in intensive care, with COVID-19.

Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer with Manitoba Shared Health, said some intensive care unit capacity remains, but not a lot, in Winnipeg and Brandon. Critical care teams are working on expanding ICU capacity, she said.

Manitoba currently has the highest number of COVID-19 hospitalization in Canada per million residents. (Robson Fletcher/CBC)

No symptoms? Don't get tested: province

There were 3,143 tests done Sunday, and Roussin announced a change in who will qualify for a test.

People without symptoms will no longer be able to book COVID-19 test appointments, and people who aren't showing symptoms may be turned away from testing sites, Roussin said at a news conference. That's to make sure the system can maintain capacity for testing symptomatic people.

Employers are being asked not to send employees for tests unless they have symptoms or have been advised by health officials to get a test.

The province also declared outbreaks at Bethania Mennonite Personal Care Home, Extendicare Tuxedo Villa personal care home and Riverview Health Centre in Winnipeg, as well as at St. Amant Health and Transition Services.

'One of our own has fallen'

Siragusa said 44 health-care workers tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week: 36 in the Winnipeg health region, five in Southern Health, two in Prairie Mountain and one in the north.

A record 192 Manitobans were in hospital with COVID-19 as of Monday, 28 of them in ICU. (Bryce Hoye/CBC)

The health-care workers who tested positive included 22 nurses, four doctors or doctors in training and 15 allied health or support staff. Three haven't yet been identified.

Siragusa confirmed one of the recent deaths was a male health-care worker connected to the Victoria Hospital outbreak.

"One of our own has fallen," she said. "We want to send our condolences with his family, loved ones and the team."

WATCH | Siragusa says health-care worker died of COVID-19:

'One of our own has fallen'

2 years ago
Duration 0:43
Shared Health's Lanette Siragusa extends condolences to family and loved ones of a health-care worker who died over the weekend after testing positive for COVID-19.

She said 403 health-care workers and first responders have tested positive since the pandemic emerged in Manitoba in March.

Meanwhile, a range of staff across the education, care home and health-care systems are calling for more support from the province.

A group of 500 teachers signed a letter Monday addressed to Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen, which says they are at a breaking point and need more staff.

Goertzen announced Monday that Manitoba will hire 100 teachers and 20 educational assistants as it launches a resource centre to help remote learning.

Care home outbreaks

Dozens of health-care workers at Maples care home and Parkview Place have also tested positive in recent weeks.

The condition of a number of Maples residents who tested positive for the illness declined quickly Friday night and a rapid response team was sent in Saturday; eight residents died in the span of 48 hours, including two on Friday, when multiple ambulances and paramedics were called to the home.

The emergency calls prompted officials from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and Revera, the for-profit company that owns the Maples and Parkview Place care homes, to hold a rare weekend news conference. They said the home had a full complement of nurses on staff, along with health-care aides, though the union that represents nurses disputes that.

But on Monday, the WRHA backpedalled on that joint statement, saying Revera had provided "less than accurate" information regarding staffing levels there over the weekend.

The health minister has called for immediate independent investigations of the Maples care home, where 22 people had died as of the weekend, and Parkview Place, where 23 have died. 

There have been 40 reported COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba in the first nine days of November, compared to 49 in the entire month of October. (Bryce Hoye/CBC)

Siragusa said she would embrace and implement recommendations stemming from the investigations.

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman described what happened at Maples as sickening on Monday morning. The provincial government should have learned from outbreaks in other provinces and needs to be more proactive, he said.

Bowman and Manitoba Opposition Leader Wab Kinew suggested the province consider calling in the military to help care homes in the midst of outbreaks, as has been done in other provinces.

The director of geriatrics at Mount Sinai hospital in Toronto criticized the province and WRHA for not learning from the deadly outbreaks in care homes in Ontario and Quebec early on in the pandemic.

The province announced last week that the Red Cross would be sending in help this week.

Monday is also the first day enhanced restrictions in the Southern Health region come into effect, about a week after Winnipeg was placed into the same red, or "critical," level in the provincial pandemic response system.

Roussin urged Manitobans not to socialize with people outside of their household and to significantly cut their list of close contacts for now.

Manitoba reported 365 cases on Monday. (Bryce Hoye/CBC)

More exposures announced

Manitoba health officials announced numerous new potential exposures in Winnipeg schools on Monday

  • Arthur E. Wright School:   
    • Oct. 20, Nov. 2 and 3.
  • Collège Miles Macdonell:   
    • Oct. 29 and 30.
  • École Varennes:   
    • Oct. 29 and 30.
  • Freedom International School:   
    • Oct. 29 to Nov. 6.
  • Governor Semple School:   
    • Oct. 30.
  • Island Lakes Community School:   
    • Nov. 2 to 4.
  • Kildonan-East Collegiate:   
    • Oct. 26.
  • Linden Christian School:   
    • Oct. 30.
  • Maples Collegiate:   
    • Nov. 3.
  • Princess Margaret School:   
    • Nov. 2 and 3.
  • Robertson School:   
    • Nov. 2 and 3.
  • Shamrock School:   
    • Oct. 29 and 30.
  • St. James Collegiate:   
    • Nov. 2.
  • St. John's High School:   
    • Oct. 30 and Nov. 2.
  • Sisler High School:   
    • Oct. 30, Nov. 2.
  • Sister Macnamara School:   
    • Oct. 29 and 30.
  • Transcona Collegiate:
  • Oct. 27 to 29.

WATCH | Full news conference on COVID-19 | Nov. 9, 2020:

Manitoba government daily briefing on coronavirus: Nov. 9

2 years ago
Duration 59:20
Provincial officials give update on COVID-19 outbreak: Monday, November 9, 2020.


Bryce Hoye


Bryce Hoye is a multi-platform Manitoba journalist covering news, science, justice, health, 2SLGBTQ issues and other community stories. He has a background in wildlife biology and occasionally works for CBC's Quirks & Quarks and Front Burner. He won a national Radio Television Digital News Association award for a 2017 feature on the history of the fur trade. He is also Prairie rep for outCBC.


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