Brandon Sun readers request specific questions be asked about COVID-19.
QUESTION: Can we get regular updates on percentage of transmission that is truly widespread and community-based? This info was shared daily in Prairie Mountain Health back when we had a spike in cases, and it seems perhaps one of the most helpful indicators for individuals to use to assess risk as restrictions start to loosen.
DR. BRENT ROUSSIN: Reporting of community transmission cases that we can’t link to known transmission chains, we do have those numbers. We can present those. Presenting meaningful data on acquisition events is challenging because a large amount of our cases are by definition a known acquisition.
We do look back at where people were during the two-week periods before they acquired the case, and try to draw some relation to that. But certainly, the community-based transmission is something that as our number starts coming down, we’ll be able to provide more details on.
QUESTION: Can counsellors re-open – those who are not part of a governing body and who had to close to in-person clients? Please know I can do video or phone sessions but most people will not do it and are waiting. Mental health should not have to wait!
DR. JAZZ ATWAL: We've opened up regulated health professionals and other health professionals. I can’t comment specifically on this counsellor. People do have access to the ability for health care. We encourage people to do that. Mental health is important. Connecting via phone or virtually is really important, as well.
Unless you have to visit someone, even for healthcare reasons, in person, you should try to avoid that. But, it is still important if you have to do it. A lot of physicians do a lot of work, a lot of nurses do a lot of work by phone connecting clients, as well, as do psychologists and psychiatrists.
FOLLOW UP WITH HEALTH COMMUNICATIONS: Previous restrictions in the orders will remain, and as of Jan. 23 in the Winnipeg (except for Churchill), Southern Health–Santé Sud, Interlake–Eastern and Prairie Mountain Health regions: non-regulated health services, such as pedorthists and reflexologists, to reopen with adequate physical distancing and requirements to collect information for contact tracing purposes.
Regulated health services are able to operate as per the previous public health orders.
This person may also fall under the following in schedule A of the public health orders:
"55. A business that provides mental health or addictions supports or services, such as counselling."
QUESTION: What is the availability of the Moderna vaccine, as the Pfizer vaccine is being cut back? And – a few people have asked – are the two interchangeable. Can you get the first dose from one company and the second from another?
ATWAL: Great question. At the present time, we aren't aware of any supply disruptions on the Moderna side. We have a known amount that we're getting at regular intervals. I don't have those numbers in front of me.
In relation to interchangeability, at the present time, we don't want to interchange vaccines. So, if you get the Pfizer vaccine as the first dose, we want the second dose to be Pfizer, as well. Analogous to the Moderna – if your first dose is Moderna, we want the second dose to the Moderna, as well.
Over time, we'll have greater clarity and information from a science perspective if the two are interchangeable, but at the present time, we don't have the science to show that.
QUESTION: Can you describe what treatment in hospital for COVID-19 patients entails?
ATWAL: I could provide a little, but I'm not an intensivist. I don't work in an acute care setting. I do work and see patients, but not in an acute care setting environment.
The mainstay of treatment is supportive care. If someone is admitted to the hospital, if you're in a hospital bed, you can imagine some oxygen, maybe some IV fluids. They do provide some other medications like dexamethasone, which is a steroid. Sometimes there are puffers involved, like the same puffers we use for asthma or COPD.
Obviously, if you're an intensive care unit, that means you need a greater level of care. Typically, most patients who require intensive care unit work, they'll be on a ventilator. Basically, there's a tube in your throat to help you breathe. Sometimes there's special medication given to keep your heart pumping, to make sure your blood pressure stays up. On top of that, there are probably a couple of other treatment modalities, as well, but I just don't have the details on that.
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FRIDAY’S COVID-19 UPDATE
The COVID-19 update from the province on Friday saw two additional deaths listed, none from the Prairie Mountain Health region.
The province reported 173 new cases; however, two cases were removed due to a data correction, making the net new cases 171
The new cases are as follows:
- 33 cases in the Interlake–Eastern health region;
- 64 cases in the Northern health region;
- 11 cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region;
- nine cases in the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region; and
- 56 cases in the Winnipeg health region.
The five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate was 9.3 per cent in the province, and 6.2 per cent in Winnipeg.
Lab-confirmed cases in Manitoba total 28,260, with 795 deaths or 2.81 per cent.
The province reports 3,261 active cases, with 24,204 individuals who have recovered from COVID-19. The province also reported 133 people are in hospital with active COVID-19, as well as 141 people in hospital with COVID-19 who are no longer infectious but continue to require care, for a total of 274 hospitalizations.
Twenty-four people are in intensive care units with active COVID-19, as well as 15 people with COVID-19 who are no longer infectious but continue to require critical care, for a total of 39 ICU patients.
In the Prairie Mountain Health region, there are 197 active cases, with 1,614 recovered. There are nine people hospitalized, with one patient in ICU, and a total of 46 deaths.
Brandon’s active case count is 59, with 846 recovered and 19 deaths.
Friday, 2,070 tests were completed, for a total of 461,250 since February, 2020.
» Source: Province of Manitoba
» Michele LeTourneau covers Indigenous matters for The Brandon Sun under the Local Journalism Initiative, a federally funded program that supports the creation of original civic journalism.