Dismay and disappointment following Manitoba’s shift from COVID-19 prevention to mitigation – Winnipeg | The Canadian News

Winnipeg father Brent Johnson is dismayed by the province’s decision to move away from COVID-19 prevention and instead focus on mitigation, with the Omicron variant circulating so widely.

“I was very disappointed. I mean, it really seems like caution is being lost and Manitobans are being thrown to the wolves, and that wolf’s name is Omicron,” says Johnson.

He was referring to Wednesday’s news conference with government leaders and health officials, in which Prime Minister Heather Stefanson said “it’s up to Manitobans to take care of themselves” and to focus on the fundamentals of mask wearing and handwashing. hands.

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Johnson has two children in elementary school and says the news conference made him much more nervous about sending them back to school next week.

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“I don’t disagree that everyone will probably be exposed and Omicron will probably get caught,” says Johnson.

“I think we need to take more steps to slow down for the good of all of our intensive care workers, our health care system and our school system, but I don’t see that happening. That’s really what’s weighing heavily on my mind right now.”

Dr. Dan Roberts, a critical care physician at the Winnipeg Health Sciences Center, says bluntly that the government is taking a “defeatist attitude.”

“Certainly, Omicron is much more contagious, so preventing the spread is much more difficult than in previous pandemic spikes or spikes, but that just requires a smarter approach,” says Dr. Roberts.

“Arguing that virtually everyone is going to get COVID or get vaccinated… could have been declared at the beginning of this pandemic. The really important consideration is how quickly it wreaks havoc on the community.”

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Dr. Roberts was one of nine critical care doctors and health experts who signed an open letter this week that raised alarms about the “overwhelming numbers of (hospital) admissions.”

“The only options left to us by this government is to avoid adding fuel to the Omicron fire and proceed as quickly as possible to provide second doses of vaccines to children and third doses to adults,” part of the letter read.

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They went on to say that sending children back to school for in-person learning next week was a “major concern.”

Read the full letter here:

Meanwhile, Chuck Davidson, president and CEO of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, doesn’t think the government has “thrown in the towel.”

“We still have mask requirements, we still have vaccine mandates for most businesses,” Davidson says.

“I think the message that I got yesterday is that there’s no point in putting in more restrictions because I think they won’t have the impact of getting to the point where we don’t have Omicron in Manitoba. I think we’ve gotten past that.”

But, to prevent more companies from going bankrupt, Davidson would like to see wider access to rapid test kits in the workplace.

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“That’s our key message right now: We want to keep businesses open, but we also need to make sure it’s done safely,” says Davidson.

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Dr. Roberts, however, doesn’t think it’s too late to take steps that could further reduce transmission of the virus, noting that the full effects of the winter holidays and New Year’s on hospitals may not be realized. fully materialize within 10 to 14 days. .

“Saying, ‘Well, this is the worst thing that’s going to happen,’ is wishful thinking,” says Dr. Roberts.

“That is why the letter we sent [Wednesday] was asking for a delay in sending over 100,000K to (grade) eight kids back in school on Monday. They are not adequately vaccinated.

Among them are Johnson’s children, who he says only became eligible for a first dose in late November.

“In a lot of ways, it feels like going back to school is happening too soon for a lot of reasons,” says Johnson.

“I really feel like, like they said, now they’re letting Manitobans manage their own risk and manage their own security, which is unfortunate. Because we all have a role to play and have been doing so up to this point, but I really feel like it’s an abdication of the government’s responsibility to its citizens.”

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COVID-19: Most Manitobans likely to be exposed to Omicron in near future, says Atwal

COVID-19: Most Manitobans likely to be exposed to Omicron in near future, says Atwal

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