Loading articles...

'These are loved ones:' Top doctor says most COVID 19 deaths happened in November

Manitoba chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin speaks during the daily briefing at the Manitoba Legislative Building, in Winnipeg, Thursday Aug. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski

WINNIPEG _ Seventy per cent of COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba happened this month and the province’s top doctor is cautioning people to celebrate the upcoming holidays in their own homes.

Dr. Brent Roussin said there have been 185 deaths to date in November, including 10 announced Thursday. Sixty people died due to the novel coronavirus in October.

“These deaths are much more than numbers. These are loved ones that are sorely missed right now,” Roussin said during his daily briefing.

“We know we can’t continue with these numbers.”

The province reported 383 new cases for a total of 15,288.

Daily new infections have averaged between 300 and 500 for the last few weeks. Roussin said the pressures on the health-care system are unsustainable.

“Our health-care system is being pushed to its capacity,” he said. “Our health-care providers are overwhelmed.”

On Thursday there were 307 people in hospital with 46 people in intensive care.

There have been outbreaks at multiple care homes across the province.

The hospital in Grandview, a small community near Dauphin, was closed temporarily Thursday to redeploy staff to the local care home.

“The personal care home in Grandview is besieged with cases,” Premier Brian Pallister said during question period.

The NDP Opposition criticized the move saying it is a step toward permanently closing the hospital.

Manitoba has brought in a series of increasingly tough restrictions over the last two months as COVID-19 numbers surged.

Provincewide public health orders came into effect on Nov. 12 closing indoor service for restaurants and bars and banning people from having guests over, except for a few exceptions. It also mandates mask use in all indoor public health areas.

Health officials have said the restrictions would last at least four weeks, leaving the possibility they could be loosened before the holiday season. Roussin, however, cautioned that people should keep their holiday plans within their family unit.

Roussin discouraged all non-essential travel, even within Manitoba. He said bringing back interprovincial travel restrictions is not off the table as infections rise in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Ontario.

“This is not going to be a normal holiday season,” Roussin said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2020.