Dozens of Manitoba ICU patients receiving care out of province

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With dozens of Manitoba ICU patients receiving care out of the province, public health officials are warning that hospital numbers and ICU admissions continue to stay high even though COVID-19 case counts are levelling out.

As of Friday, public health said there were 207 people with active COVID-19 cases in hospital. This includes 42 COVID-19 patients in intensive care with active cases, and 23 COVID-19 patients in ICU who are no longer infectious but still need critical care.

The province said in addition to these patients, 41 patients in the ICU are receiving care outside of the province. This includes 37 patients who have been taken to Ontario, two who are in Saskatchewan and two in Alberta.

There have been 11 patients who have returned to Manitoba after receiving care in other provinces, including one person who was repatriated on Thursday, the province said.

Dr. Jazz Atwal, the deputy chief provincial public health officer, said Manitobans still need to do their part to ensure the health-care system can catch up with the current situation.

"We are seeing some improvements, but we are not out of the woods yet. Our day-to-day case numbers are getting a bit better, but our health-care system is still struggling," Atwal said. "There are too many people in ICUs both in Manitoba and outside of the province, struggling for their lives."

Atwal said when a person is admitted to the ICU, there is a 30 per cent chance they could die.

He added the best way to keep people out of the ICU is having Manitobans follow the public health orders and stay home as much as possible.

"It is up to all of us to take steps to protect each other by taking action and changing our behaviours, we will bring cases down,” he said.

Atwal also continued to encourage people to get vaccinated, whether that means booking their second dose when they are eligible or getting their first dose.

He also mentioned that if people are vaccine hesitant they should reach out to their primary health providers to go over the benefits of a vaccine.