Doctors warn of impact of Delta variant on Manitoba students’ return to school – .

Doctors warn of impact of Delta variant on Manitoba students’ return to school – .

WINNIPEG – A group of medical experts warns that the worrisome Delta variant could affect the return of Manitoba students to class this fall.

On Friday, the group of doctors warned that there were only about 80 days until schools reopened in September. They estimate that there will be over 211,000 unvaccinated children under 12 in Manitoba and thousands over 12 and over who may only have one dose.

The group said the variant, which was first reported in India, is likely to become the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the coming weeks.

They also said the Manitoba provincial government did not consider the Delta variant when making plans to reopen.

They said that to prevent a fourth wave, vaccination and contact tracing are essential among other important measures. Doctors are also calling on the government to create new public health models that take the Delta variant into account.

The group of doctors from various specialties was formed a few months ago and held its second press conference on Friday morning.

“One of the things I tell my students is that a good clinician is first and foremost a risk manager,” said Dr. Dan Roberts, critical care physician at the Health Sciences Center.

“And what we do is put the facts together and confirm and bring together as much expertise as possible to make the best decision to educate our patients and get the best outcome. “

Roberts said this was the strategy the group used in the last few months of the COVID-19 pandemic to give advice.

“We’re not in the business of hyperbole or fact-spinning, we’re not here to criticize anyone, but we have what we think is an important message at this point,” Roberts said. .


Roberts said everyone is looking forward to a sense of normalcy this summer.

“We need Manitobans to understand that short-term optimism is not based on current reality,” he said.

“If we are to see the health care system begin to recover and our schools open and remain open in September, we need to understand that a few extra months of vigilance and caution are critically important. “

He said if the threat of the Delta variant is ignored, there is a real likelihood that we will end up in a fourth wave of COVID in early fall.

Roberts said Delta was in Manitoba and the number of cases had increased tenfold in the past eleven days.

“This mutation is twice as infectious as the Alpha strain (B.1.1.7) and twice as likely to lead to hospitalization and it is more resistant to a single dose of vaccine. “

According to the province’s COVID-19 dashboard last updated on June 18 at 12:30 p.m., there are now 130 cases of the Delta variant (B1.617.2) in the province, including 63 in Winnipeg and 40 in the northern health region.


Acting provincial deputy chief public health officer Dr Jazz Atwal was questioned on Friday afternoon about the doctors’ concerns.

“We know we’ve been through a number of waves with COVID already,” Atwal said. “We are going to continue to see COVID and COVID is not going to go away. “

Atwal said a fourth and fifth wave of the pandemic may exist because COVID-19 is going to be rampant, which means it’s not going to go away.

He said work is underway to incorporate the Delta variant into Manitoba’s modeling data and that the province has its eyes on trends as we move closer to the first reopening target slated for July 1.

The province has scheduled a 25% reopening for some businesses, services and facilities as well as an increase in the size of gatherings, only if the province reaches the milestones of 70% single dose and 25% second dose.

The provincial scorecard shows that as of Friday 70.6% of Manitobans 12 and older had received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 22% had received both doses.

Current public health orders are also expected to expire on June 26.


Atwal also added that most cases of the Delta variant are related to travel or domestic transmission, as well as a cluster of cases.

“We will consider the Delta variant,” he said. “We’re going to look at not just one or two variables. We’re going to look at the capacity of the acute care system, we’re going to look at the capacity of the intensive care, hospitalizations, we’re going to look at the number of cases, test for positivity.

NDP health spokesperson Uzoma Asagwara said on Friday that this group of doctors had consistently highlighted areas that were shown to be under-addressed by the government and subsequently found themselves in some of the worst outcomes. in North America.

“The demands and concerns that doctors have voiced today are perfectly reasonable and understandable, these are all areas that should have been addressed and should have been in a plan long before today,” said Asagwara.


The group of doctors calls on public health and the government to:

  • Urgently create and share new public health models that take into account the Delta variant and vaccine efficacy
  • Improve first and second dose vaccination campaigns with extended schedules, workplace vaccination programs and ongoing community outreach
  • Improve the efficiency of contact tracing and increase contract tracing capacity before schools reopen
  • Introduce compulsory paid sick leave
  • Improve the safety and ventilation of the classroom
  • Continue masking and physical distancing requirements
  • Use home controls quickly and proactively when needed


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