To support the launch of a coordinated and focused immunization campaign in all 63 First Nations communities in Manitoba, the provincial government will be shipping 5,300 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

A statement released by Premier Brian Pallister says “this is a historic day in our fight against COVID-19, built on a strong and respectful partnership with First Nations leadership and the guidance of our public health experts.”

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc., Keewatinohk Inniniw Minoayawin and Southern Chiefs Organization have announced their initial priority groups for immunization, which include essential health-care workers, residents in personal care homes and Elder care facilities, and older Manitobans.

Pallister says it closely mirrors the priority groups chosen by Manitoba’s Vaccine Implementation Task Force, he adds that it “reflects the importance of using our limited supply of vaccine to protect our health-care system and those most at risk of serious illness.”

Since the vaccines require 2 doses about a month apart for optimal protection, another 5,300 doses have been committed to First Nations communities next month.

Pallister finished by saying they’ll “continue to collaborate on an equitable, timely and effective response to COVID-19.”

On Tuesday night at 11, RCMP responded to a house fire at a historical home, on Pelly Ave. in Russell.

It's the oldest home in town and was built in 1888.

When officers arrived, the Fire Department was battling the fire, which had fully engulfed the house.

2 hours later, there was a 911 call from a 22-year-old admitting he started the fire.

Liam Flett gave his location and officers arrested him.

Flett faces charges of arson, mischief and break and entering to commit an offence.

The investigation continues.

An email sent to parents yesterday from Peter Pan Nursery said they'd be closed while waiting for direction from public health following a positive COVID test result to a child.

Public health has cleared Peter Pan Nursery to re-open today.

It was determined when the child was at the daycare on December 29th and 30th, they weren't in their infectious period.

The daycare says credit for fees paid for yesterday will be adjusted on the next invoice.

A man from Skownan First Nation has made another appearance in court for manslaughter.

23-year-old Jayden Catcheway will be back in Dauphin Court on May 19th.

Winnipegosis RCMP responded to a report of an injured man at a home on the reserve in the morning of June 1st, 2020.

A 31-year-old man died from his injuries in hospital.

43-year-old Ramona Tanner made another appearance in court in connection with a death in October.

Tanner, from Dauphin, faces a manslaughter charge and was remanded in custody for January 19th.

On October 25th, 2020, Dauphin RCMP responded to a report of an unconscious, injured male.

When officers arrived at the scene, the 26-year-old man was pronounced dead.

Early this morning just after 2:30 a.m., the Dauphin Fire Department was dispatched to a home on Jackson Street, in Dauphin, due to an unknown fire.

Upon arrival, they found the neighbour of the caller was burning old papers on their deck and there was no actual fire.

The DFD recommends using a shredder to dispose of old letters instead of using a lighter.

The second round of rebate cheques from Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) are in the mail.

The rebates should be around $100 for the average policyholder.

A portion of premiums are being returned through this rebate due to lower than expected claims during the pandemic.

It's expected the rebate cheques will take about four weeks before they arrive in the mail.

MPI issued it's the first round of rebate cheques back in May of 2020.

Health officials are reporting 10 more deaths due to COVID-19 and 176 new cases today.

All but two of the deaths are in the Winnipeg region, including a man in his 70’s from the Interlake health region and a woman in her 40’s from the Northern health region.

Today’s COVID-19 data shows:

  • 11 cases in the Interlake–Eastern health region
  • 31 cases in the Northern health region
  • 12 cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region
  • 13 cases in the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region and
  • 109 cases in the Winnipeg health region 

Of Manitoba’s 25,541 cases, 4,460 are active and 20,376 people have recovered.

The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 10.4 percent provincially and 11.5 percent in Winnipeg.

There are 237 people in hospital in hospital with active COVID-19 and 92 people in hospital that are no longer infectious but still require care. (329 total hospitalizations)

There are 32 people in intensive care with active COVID-19 and 5 who are no longer infectious but still need critical care. (37 total ICU patients)

The number of deaths due to COVID-19 is 705.

According to the province’s data, there are active cases in the following Parkland health districts: Dauphin (6), Riding Mountain (3), Swan River (2), Porcupine Mountain (76, down from 90), Duck Mountain (2), Asessippi (5), Little Saskatchewan (5), Whitemud (2), and Agassiz Mountain (12, up from 7). Brandon has 31 active cases.

In the Interlake, the Eriksdale/Ashern health district has 45 active cases, while Fisher/Peguis has 44. 

The province has announced a plan to immunize all Manitoba care home residents against COVID-19.

Premier Brian Pallister made the announcement at a press conference on Wednesday, saying all eligible care home residents will be provided with the first dose of the vaccine over a 28-day campaign. 

Pallister says every eligible care home resident will have received both doses by early March.

Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require a 2nd dose about a month after the first to provide optimal protection against the virus. 

Care home immunizations in Manitoba will begin on Monday, Jan. 11 at seven locations across the province, including one in Prairie Mountain Health at Hillcrest Place in Brandon.

Next week, the province says the immunization schedule will be released for all remaining PCHs in Manitoba.

The COVID-19 pandemic posed an unprecedented challenge to healthcare in 2020.

Looking back on the regional health authority’s response to the first 10 months of COVID-19, Prairie Mountain Health CEO Penny Gilson feels they’ve done pretty well overall managing the pandemic.

She highlighted the establishment of contact tracing, testing sites, and distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) across such a large geographical area.

Gilson acknowledged the hard work of healthcare staff who have had to change schedules, work overtime, and be redeployed to other areas, “all the while dealing with their own personal pressures we all have faced to some degree during the pandemic.”

“The biggest challenge was for the healthcare staff, but also the biggest success was the staff that did what needed to be done,” said Gilson.


Looking Ahead To 2021

The issue of staffing shortages, particularly in smaller rural communities, will remain a focal point in the year ahead. Staffing shortages have led to the suspension of services at several rural health centres in 2020.

Gilson says PMH needs to be relentless in their recruitment and retention initiatives at the regional level to address staffing shortages.

“I’d say the biggest challenge is in these smaller rural communities … it’s going to take work from a lot of different parties.”

She says prior to the pandemic, Shared Health had been working to address the issue by taking the lead on the development and implementation of a human resource plan.

“Hopefully on the other side of the COVID we can get back to doing that necessary work — and a robust health human resource plan is apart of that.”

Gilson highlights PMH’s use of local training programs, adding that “people who have roots here are more likely to stay in a rural community.” She says PMH meets with any and all students in the healthcare field to make them aware of the opportunities across Prairie Mountain.

“Hopefully if everybody works together we’ll see more stability in the years ahead.”


Gilson To Retire From CEO Role In April

Penny Gilson is stepping down as CEO of Prairie Mountain Health in April 2021 -- after over 20 years in the role.

"It’s time for me to take a step back and let someone else come in and see what that future brings.”

She says it feels like the right time for her, and tells CKDM she’s looking forward to spending time with friends and family — once public health orders enable her to do so — and is also excited about a new granddaughter added to the family in November.

Health officials announced 130 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, and 7 deaths.

The deaths include six individuals from Winnipeg, and one from the Southern health region. Four of the 7 are linked to care home outbreaks.

The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 10.7% provincially and 11.5% in Winnipeg. 

Screen Shot 2021 01 05 at 3.55.24 PM
Manitoba's test positivity rate has improved slightly as of late | Graphic courtesy of the Manitoba Government

The total number of lab-confirmed cases in Manitoba is 25,374.

There are 4,427 active cases and 20,252 individuals who have recovered from COVID-19.

There are 243 people in hospital with active COVID-19 as well as 96 people in hospital who are no longer infectious but continue to require care (339 hospitalizations in total).

Thirty-five Manitobans are in intensive care units with active COVID-19 as well as five people who are no longer infectious but continue to require critical care (40 ICU patients total).

The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 is 695.

Today’s COVID-19 data shows:
• 17 cases in the Interlake–Eastern health region
• 19 cases in the Northern health region
• nine cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region
• eight cases in the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region
• 77 cases in the Winnipeg health region

According to the province’s data, there are active cases in the following Parkland health districts: Dauphin (7), Riding Mountain (4), Swan River (3), Porcupine Mountain (90), Duck Mountain (2), Asessippi (5), Little Saskatchewan (5), and Agassiz Mountain (7). Brandon has 31 active cases.

In the Interlake, the Eriksdale/Ashern health district has 45 active cases, while Fisher/Peguis has 43. 


Safely Enjoying The Outdoors

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer, clarified that Manitobans are not required to wear a mask when enjoying the outdoors.

However, public health advice does encourage mask-wearing whenever possible.

“I think hand-washing and wearing a mask whenever you can is good advice,” said Roussin.