On Tuesday May 25, I spoke in support of Manitoba doctors who had held an emergency press conference earlier that day to call on the government for stricter measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic because our ICUs have been over capacity and we are having so send patients out of province. My comments are below:
ICU Capacity and Surgery Backlogs
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): As doctors emphasized this morning, Manitoba is facing two crises.
The first is the COVID pandemic. Dr. Roberts made it clear: we have hit the wall when it comes to ICU capacity. We're having to send people who should be in ICUs to other provinces. The current number of people with COVID-19 in ICUs understates the number who need an ICU. An unknown number of people being looked after on hospital wards would ordinarily be cared for in an ICU. We should know this number to emphasize the severity of the current situation. The situation is dire.
The provincial government has provided for a soft lockdown, not a hard lockdown. Dr. Dan Roberts said the restrictions in place are currently not effective. Dr. Pamela Orr emphasized the narrative that Manitoba is using the strictest regulations is false. We need to close all non-essential businesses and to have a stay-at-home order.
Indoor malls remain open. People are saying the situation is not too serious because malls are still open. We need to close malls.
The second crisis, as Dr. Charles Bernstein said this morning, is in non-COVID in Manitoba. There are now 20,000 surgeries waiting to be done, with 63 of these being of the most urgent nature. Dr. Christine Peschken said the entire health-care system is in danger of collapse.
People with cancer are not getting the surgery they need. Individuals have aneurysms bursting at home and are dying, unable to get needed surgery. Six patients have already died on the waiting list for cardiac surgery. Many others waiting are seeing their health deteriorate.
The government needs to act immediately on this morning's recommendations made by Manitoba's doctors.