Direct-care workers on unpaid leave grows, majority in Southern Health region

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More than 150 Manitoba direct-care workers have now been placed on unpaid leave for refusing to be vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 testing.

A spokesperson for Shared Health told CTV News as of the end of Tuesday, the number of direct-care workers placed on unpaid leave due to compliance with public health orders jumped to 158.

The majority of these workers, 83 in total, are in the Southern Health-Santé Sud region which is seeing the lowest vaccine uptake in the province – sitting at 67.4 per cent as of Wednesday. The region also contains the five districts in Manitoba with the lowest vaccine uptake.

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"While the vast majority of health care facilities are reporting no significant impacts related to these individuals being away from work, Southern Health-Santé Sud does continue to actively redeploy staffing from other programs in the region to safely ensure ongoing quality care and services to Manitobans at affected sites," the spokesperson said.

The Interlake-Eastern Health Region has 27 direct-care workers on unpaid leave, and the Prairie Mountain Health Region has 26 direct-care workers on unpaid leave. Seventeen direct-care workers are on unpaid leave in Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, and two are in the Northern Health Region.

Shared Health said three of its direct-care workers have also been placed on unpaid leave.

Of the 42,000 direct-care workers, Shared Health said more than 37,000 have completed the voluntary online disclosure which shows about 95 per cent have been fully vaccinated. A total of 1,866 people require testing.