CAF working with Manitoba to determine COVID-19 support needs

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WINNIPEG, Manitoba, May 25 (Reuters) - Canada's COVID-19 pandemic hotspot Manitoba said on Tuesday it was planning to fly more critically ill COVID-19 patients to other provinces, as infections multiply.

Some doctors in the province are calling for tighter restrictions including a stay-at-home order to prevent intensive care units from being overwhelmed.

A third wave reached Manitoba later than other provinces, and pushed up its rate of daily cases to 233 people per 100,000 during the past week, the highest in Canada and triple the national average, mainly due to spread in the city of Winnipeg.

But these orders only work if all of us get on "Team Manitoba' and follow the rules for our loved ones, our friends, our neighbours and our community", said Premier Brian Pallister.

"Our hospitals are being stretched to the limits right now", Chief Provincial Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said.

Ontario, Canada's most-populous province, plans to loosen restrictions starting June 14.

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Pallister said he informally requested assistance from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when the two spoke by phone last week, and a formal request has now been submitted to the department of public safety.

Federal officials were not quick to explain details of how many and what type of workers are specifically is being offered.

Pallister said the province would need up to 50 critical care nurses, 20 respiratory therapists, and up to 50 contact tracers from Statistics Canada (StatCan), which Public Safety Canada has since confirmed StatCan will provide the necessary manpower to the province. That patient will likely be sent to a hospital outside Saskatoon or Regina.

More provincial data on hospitalizations can be found here.

Currently, Pfizer-BioNTech is the only vaccine authorized for anyone under 18.

Canada purchased 44 million doses of Moderna and has received 5.7 million doses so far.

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