Throughout the morning weather forecasting groundhogs have been making their predictions on when spring is to come.

So far, the Canadian groundhogs have given a more positive outlook on the end of winter, while Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil predicts 6 more weeks of winter.

Manitoba Merv was joined by Shubenacadie Sam, Fred La Marmotte, and Wiarton Willie in predicting an early spring.

There was a bit of a twist behind Wiarton Willie’s prediction when the famous albino groundhog was nowhere to be seen, as officials called an early spring after throwing a fur hat into the air.

A new online tool launched by the Manitoba government on Monday shows your place in line on the vaccine priority list.

The Vaccine Queue Calculator shows the current vaccination priority line, which the province explains is based on health risk, with the guidance of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.

Click here to access it.

Screen Shot 2021 02 01 at 6.41.36 PM
Pictured: the Vaccine Queue Calculator went online Monday


First Nations Immunization Plan Update

On Monday, the province also released more details on the vaccination plans for First Nations people in Manitoba.

Dr. Marcia Anderson, public health lead for Manitoba First Nation Pandemic Response Co-ordination Team was joined by Dr. Joss Reimer for the update.

When the province begins the age-based vaccine rollout next month, they explained, First Nations people will be prioritized within each age group because of the disproportionate impact the virus has had on Indigenous people.

On Friday, the pandemic response team reported 73% of all presumed active cases in Manitoba were First Nations people.

“First Nations people experience severe and significant effects of COVID-19, with an increasing proportion of cases and over-representation in hospitalizations, ICU admissions and death,” said Dr. Marcia Anderson, “this means we need to ensure First Nations in Manitoba have access to the vaccine in an equitable and timely way – both to protect those most at risk, and to protect our health-care system from being overwhelmed.”

Manitoba is offering free provincial park entry for the month of February.

Vehicle permits are not needed in any provincial parks this month, however, Snopasses will still be required for groomed trails in the parks.

Health officials are encouraging Manitobans to take advantage of the groomed trails in parks across Manitoba, as well as other activities including cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, fat biking, snowshoeing and hiking.

The province reminds all Manitobans to follow COVID-19 health and safety guidelines when at the parks.

All fees still apply for all national parks.

A man was taken to hospital with serious injuries after a snowmobile accident in Delta on Sunday.

Portage la Prairie RCMP responded to the accident at around 8:45 p.m. when the driver was being taken to hospital.

Police determined the 40-year-old driver was travelling on Lake Manitoba when he struck a snowdrift, became airborne, and was thrown from the snowmobile.

Police say the driver is suspended from operating any motor vehicle, and believe alcohol may have been a factor in the collision.

The driver was taken to hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. Officers say he was wearing a helmet at the time of the incident but it may not have been secured properly, causing it to come off.

There were 89 new cases of COVID-19 and three deaths identified in Manitoba in the past 24 hours.

The three deaths announced Monday include two men from the Southern Health region’s Heritage Life Personal Care Home in Niverville, as well as a woman in her 80s from the Winnipeg health region. 

On Monday, Dr. Brent Roussin was asked which public health restrictions may be relaxed when the current health orders expire on February 12. He responded that it’s too early to say at this time, adding that officials will aim to reveal any possible changes to the orders about one week in advance “to start giving Manitobans notice of the types of things we’re looking at [changing].”

The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 7.9% provincially and 4.2% in Winnipeg. The total number of lab-confirmed cases in Manitoba is 29,651.

The provincial data shows 3,466 active cases and 25,353 individuals who have recovered from COVID-19.

There are 104 people in hospital with active COVID-19 as well as 151 people in hospital who are no longer infectious but continue to require care (255 hospitalizations total).

There are 27 people in intensive care units with active COVID-19 as well as 11 people who are no longer infectious but continue to require critical care (38 ICU patients total).

The total number of deaths in people with COVID-19 is 832.

Today’s new cases are from the following health regions:
• 22 cases in Interlake–Eastern health region
• 42 cases in the Northern health region
• three cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region
• four cases in the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region
• 18 cases in the Winnipeg health region

According to the province’s data, there are active cases in the following Parkland health districts: Dauphin (2), Riding Mountain (1), Porcupine Mountain (50), Duck Mountain (2), Asessippi (13), Little Saskatchewan (8), Whitemud (1), and Agassiz Mountain (19). Brandon has 37 active cases.

In the Interlake, the Eriksdale/Ashern health district has 69 active cases, while Fisher/Peguis has 77.

A telephone town hall hosted by Manitoba’s top health officials on Tuesday night will field questions from Manitobans regarding the province’s immunization plan.

Health Minister Heather Stefanson, Dr. Joss Reimer and Dr. Brent Roussin's town hall starts at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 2. To receive a call to join the discussion, you can register online.

Manitobans will have a chance to ask questions on the province's recently released COVID-19 immunization plan.



A recording from the town hall will also be available for those who are unable to join.

A memorial walk is being held today in Peguis First Nation marking the one-year anniversary of a fatal pedestrian collision in the community.

On Feb. 1, 2020, 52-year-old Albert Bradley Flett, known as Brad, and a group of friends were walking on West Road while a snowmobile poker derby was taking place in the community.

At around 6:00 p.m., Brad was struck by what police believe to be an ATV.

His friends called 911 and began to perform first aid, but when RCMP and emergency services arrived, Brad had already died from his injuries.

The driver of the vehicle has yet to be identified.

Brad’s sister Rose is organizing the ‘Walk for Justice/Memorial for Brad’, and says “we don’t want Brad to be forgotten and will continue to bring attention to his death until we get answers. Someone knows something. Please, if you have any information, call police.”

RCMP continue to actively investigate Brad’s death.

RCMP ask that if you have information on Brad’s death, please call Fisher Branch RCMP at 204- 372-8484, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477, or secure tip online at www.manitobacrimestoppers.com.

The City of Dauphin along with the Rural Municipality of Dauphin are looking to establish a marketing campaign to promote the benefits of doing business in the area.

The municipalities are seeking requests for proposals for a business attraction & marketing plan, promoting available lands and amenities, focussed mainly on the Business Park.

Proposals must be submitted to the city’s economic development manager by 4:30 p.m. on Monday, March 1.

A portion of this project will involve the development of a publication to promote the City and Rural Municipality of Dauphin as an excellent place to start a business (modes of transportation, affordable hydro, affordable housing, available land, etc.).

A notice on the City of Dauphin website says only experienced individuals or firms with prior work on projects such as this should submit proposals.

Click here for more details.

Blue Print
Pictured above: a blueprint of the Business Park in Dauphin

The Mountain View School Division (MVSD) has announced their nominee for the 2021 Manitoba School Boards Association (MSBA) Student Citizenship Award.

Grandview School’s Sawyer Elliott has been nominated by the MVSD Board of Trustees. Sawyer says getting the phone call was unbelievable.

“I actually sat in my desk chair on the phone with the trustee and could hardly contain my excitement. It felt really good, so I’m excited to see where the next level takes me. I’m just proud of myself that I’ve made it this far.”

The Student Citizenship Award is given to a student in each of the MSBA’s six geographic regions. The award recognizes students who demonstrate their commitment to the values of citizenship.

The Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM) will also recognize one of the MSBA’s award winners with the AMM George Harbottle Memorial Award, in recognition of outstanding contributions at the community level.

Sawyer does lots with the curling club in Grandview, by encouraging younger curlers to take part and having special nights to involve more members of the community. She also writes a variety of articles in the Plain View Newspaper and is working to have something in the paper for all types of people in Grandview.

Sawyer says she can’t begin to think what it would feel like to win the Student Citizenship Award or George Harbottle Memorial Award.

“I’d be completely overjoyed. It would be an encouragement to continue the stuff in the community that I do. Next year I will be going to Winnipeg to start university, so I won’t be as involved in the community. But, winning that award would encourage me to step outside of just my stuff in Grandview and see what I can do in Winnipeg, like volunteer at a humane society or see where I can help out with maybe a soup kitchen or something like that. I think I want to try that stuff anyways and see what it would be like in Winnipeg.”

Sawyer’s starting with University 1 at the University of Winnipeg and is hoping to go into Nursing.

MVSD Board Chairperson Floyd Martens says it was a difficult process, but congratulates Sawyer on the nomination.

MSBAawardnominee2

The Mountain View School Divison says the DRCSS will resume regular classes on Monday, Feb, 1.

The DRCSS had been closed since last Monday due to issues with the school's heating and ventilation system.

Manitoba health officials announced four additional deaths due to COVID-19 on Sunday, and 119 new cases.

None of the deaths reported are in the Prairie Mountain Health region.

The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 7.9% provincially and 4.5% in Winnipeg. The total number of lab-confirmed cases in Manitoba is 29,564.

The provincial data shows 3,503 active cases and 25,232 individuals who have recovered from COVID-19.

There are 108 people in hospital with active COVID-19 as well as 151 people in hospital who are no longer infectious but continue to require care (259 hospitalizations total).

There are 29 people in intensive care units with active COVID-19 as well as 10 people who are no longer infectious but continue to require critical care (39 ICU patients total).

The total number of deaths of people with COVID-19 is 829.

The new cases announced Sunday are from the following health regions: 
•    35 cases in Interlake-Eastern health region
•    49 cases in the Northern health region
•    two cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region
•    six cases in the Southern Health-Santé Sud health region
•    27 cases in the Winnipeg health region

According to the province’s data, there are active cases in the following Parkland health districts: Dauphin (2), Riding Mountain (1), Porcupine Mountain (50), Duck Mountain (2), Asessippi (13), Little Saskatchewan (8), Whitemud (1), and Agassiz Mountain (23, up from 22). Brandon has 43 active cases.

In the Interlake, the Eriksdale/Ashern health district has 69 active cases, while Fisher/Peguis has 75.

Public health officials advise four additional deaths in people with COVID-19 have been reported today, including:
• a male in his 60s from the Interlake-Eastern health region
• a male in his 90s from the Northern health region
• a male in his 60s from the Southern Health – Santé Sud health region, linked to an outbreak at the Rock Lake Hospital in Crystal City
• a female in her 80s from the Southern Health – Santé Sud health region, linked to an outbreak at the Rock Lake Hospital in Crystal City

The directives from public health continue to ask that anyone feeling even mild symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home and self-isolate — and the entire household needs to self-isolate pending COVID-19 test results.