Katie May

Katie May

Reporter

Katie has more than a decade of reporting experience. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she is focusing on public-health coverage with an eye toward systemic policy issues. 

She joined the Free Press as a copy editor in December 2013 and has covered courts and crime beats for the newspaper.

She chased news in Ontario, Nova Scotia — where she completed a bachelor of journalism with combined honours in Canadian Studies at the University of King’s College — the Northwest Territories and Alberta before she arrived in Manitoba.

Recent articles of Katie May

City OKs fast-tracked demolition of Wellington Crescent home

Katie May 4 minute read Preview

City OKs fast-tracked demolition of Wellington Crescent home

Katie May 4 minute read Friday, Sep. 23, 2022

A 93-year-old home that has become a problem house in Winnipeg’s most prestigious neighbourhood will be demolished, with special permission from the city.

A request to tear down the single-family structure, in-ground pool and detached garage at 1188 Wellington Cres. was approved Friday morning during a short meeting of the city centre community committee.

Complaints of multiple break-ins, squatters, scattered used needles and an increase in thefts from neighbouring properties spurred the proposal to raze the large, two-storey house. No one voiced any opposition to fast-tracking the demolition, which normally can’t happen under city bylaws unless a permit to rebuild has already been approved.

Artista Homes Ltd. owns the house and its 17,218-square-foot, triple-wide lot, having taken possession from the previous owner in the spring.

Friday, Sep. 23, 2022

The vacant property at 1188 Wellington Cres. has become home to squatters who have been causing problems in the neighbourhood. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press files)

Interest, indifference greet latest booster expansion

Katie May 5 minute read Preview

Interest, indifference greet latest booster expansion

Katie May 5 minute read Thursday, Sep. 22, 2022

An influx of eager bivalent-booster bookers headed online or phoned local pharmacies first thing Thursday to secure their latest dose of COVID-19 vaccine, but it’s not top priority for many newly eligible Manitobans.

At Empire Drugs on Selkirk Avenue in Winnipeg, pharmacy manager Andrell Carta had received at least 10 calls by early afternoon, and was preparing to order more doses to top up the weekly supply he’d anticipated would last all week for walk-ins.

“I definitely have noticed an increase, so I will have to be ordering more vaccine in, so the interest is definitely there,” Carta said a day after the provincial government announced it was expanding fourth-dose eligibility to everyone 18 and older and making the latest bivalent vaccine available to all adults, starting Thursday.

The newly approved vaccine targets the Omicron variant BA.1, in addition to the original strain of the COVID-19 virus.

Thursday, Sep. 22, 2022

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Contessa Dela Cruz, who has booked her bivalent booster appointment, chats with the Free Press about the bivalent booster shot in Winnipeg on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. For Katie May story. Winnipeg Free Press 2022.

Staffing crunch puts another ambulance on sidelines

Katie May 3 minute read Preview

Staffing crunch puts another ambulance on sidelines

Katie May 3 minute read Wednesday, Sep. 21, 2022

A shortage of paramedics pulled another Winnipeg ambulance out of service Wednesday, as officials continue to warn of chronic staffing problems among first responders resulting in millions in municipal over-expenditures.

Last weekend, 16 firefighters, seven paramedics and three 911 dispatch operators called in sick, and three ambulances had to be kept out of the rotation in Elmwood/East Kildonan and Weston neighbourhoods because there were too few paramedics to staff them.

“It is getting to be quite frequent, where we find ourselves in a position where units have to be taken out of service due to lack of staff, and we found ourselves in that situation again today,” Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service Chief Christian Schmidt said Wednesday.

One ambulance is off the road simply because of a lack of staff, he added. Fire trucks have been pulled off the road for the same reason.

Wednesday, Sep. 21, 2022

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Last weekend, 16 firefighters, seven paramedics and three 911 dispatch operators called in sick, and three ambulances had to be kept out of the rotation in Elmwood/East Kildonan and Weston neighbourhoods because there were too few paramedics to staff them.

Manitoba expands bivalent COVID-19 vaccine eligibility

Katie May 5 minute read Preview

Manitoba expands bivalent COVID-19 vaccine eligibility

Katie May 5 minute read Wednesday, Sep. 21, 2022

Manitoba is starting its push to get all adults boosted with a vaccine that targets the Omicron variant of COVID-19, but the efficacy of the province’s messaging is being questioned.

Bivalent vaccine doses are now available to all adults in Manitoba, and appointment booking begins Thursday for anyone age 18 and up, officials announced.

Provincial chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin emphasized Manitobans, especially those at high risk, should get boosted with the bivalent vaccine.

“We want to be clear (that) COVID is still with us. And we’re moving into a respiratory virus season where COVID isn’t going to be the only virus that’s going to be affecting us, and these vaccines are still the best way to protect ourselves from especially the severe outcomes,” he said during a virtual news conference Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday, Sep. 21, 2022

MARKUS SCHREIBER / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILES

Only three per cent of Manitoba’s initial bivalent vaccine doses were administered within the first week of availability.

Neighbours demand fast-tracked demolition of Wellington Crescent problem house

Katie May 3 minute read Preview

Neighbours demand fast-tracked demolition of Wellington Crescent problem house

Katie May 3 minute read Tuesday, Sep. 20, 2022

A 93-year-old home on Wellington Crescent faces demolition as neighbours complain squatters have taken over the vacant structure.

The white, two-storey single-family house at 1188 Wellington Cres. has been boarded up for months. It’s about to be razed with no immediate plans to rebuild. The proposal is up for discussion Friday at a special meeting of the city centre community committee.

Next-door neighbour Yu Wang said people have been breaking into the vacant house and causing problems for the past three months.

“They come back again and again,” he said Tuesday, adding area residents are suspicious some of the people squatting in the house are also responsible for a rise in break-ins in the neighbourhood.

Tuesday, Sep. 20, 2022

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Next-door neighbour Yu Wang said people have been breaking into the vacant house for the past three months.

Experts warn against booster delay

Katie May 4 minute read Preview

Experts warn against booster delay

Katie May 4 minute read Monday, Sep. 19, 2022

Delaying a COVID-19 booster shot appointment to wait for expanded bivalent vaccine eligibility may not be the best option as transmission levels are predicted to rise this fall, a national network of COVID-19 researchers is recommending.

A fourth-dose booster, bivalent or not, is better than no fourth dose at all, according to the Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network.

The bivalent vaccine became available this week to Manitoba seniors over 65, people with select immunocompomising conditions and Indigenous adults over 18. All health-care workers, first responders, personal-care home residents and inmates in jail are also eligible. The first appointments opened up Sept. 14 for the bivalent booster, which is formulated to target the initial Omicron variant in addition to the original COVID-19 strain.

The provincial government has not released any figures to show how many people have booked appointments or received the bivalent vaccine so far. Free Press requests for those figures were not answered Friday. Monovalent fourth doses were initially offered to Manitobans over 50 starting in late May. As of early June, less than 12 per cent of the eligible population had received it.

Monday, Sep. 19, 2022

A nurse loads a syringe with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at an inoculation station next to Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, July 19, 2022. More people in Saskatchewan will be able to book a COVID-19 bivalent booster shot on Monday.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Rogelio V. Solis

‘Ridiculous for health care in Manitoba’: Eriksdale ER temporary closure ramps up rural concerns

Katie May 4 minute read Preview

‘Ridiculous for health care in Manitoba’: Eriksdale ER temporary closure ramps up rural concerns

Katie May 4 minute read Thursday, Sep. 15, 2022

A temporary closure of an Interlake hospital ER has prompted nearby First Nations communities to express concern about the future of local health care.

In response to the altered services at E.M. Crowe Memorial Hospital in Eriksdale, the Interlake Reserves Tribal Council stated this week it is “feeling neglected and discriminated against.”

The hospital emergency room (some 130 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg) will be closed until Sept. 26 because of an unplanned vacancy in the diagnostics department, the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority confirmed.

The tribal council, which represents six First Nations, issued a news release stating it wasn’t consulted on the move.

Thursday, Sep. 15, 2022

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Council chairman and Lake Manitoba Chief Cornell McLean said the closure will leave neighbouring First Nations without accessible care, despite the fact Ashern’s hospital remains open 40 km northeast of Eriksdale.

Controversial patient transfers to rural hospitals end

Katie May 3 minute read Preview

Controversial patient transfers to rural hospitals end

Katie May 3 minute read Wednesday, Sep. 14, 2022

Manitoba has stopped sending hospital patients from Winnipeg to rural Manitoba, but the inter-regional transfer policy city hospitals relied upon to free up beds during COVID-19 surges remains in place.

No patients have been transferred as part of the controversial protocol since late July, a Shared Health spokesman stated.

Since last fall, 353 patients have been transferred to hospitals outside their home health regions because of a lack of available beds in Winnipeg.

The focus lately has been on “repatriating” patients who live outside the city by transporting them to health centres closer to home,”to continue their care, when clinically appropriate, at sites closer to their home and support networks,” Shared Health stated.

Wednesday, Sep. 14, 2022

Manitoba has stopped sending hospital patients from Winnipeg to rural Manitoba, but the inter-regional transfer policy city hospitals relied upon to free up beds during COVID-19 surges remains in place.

No patients have been transferred as part of the controversial protocol since late July, a Shared Health spokesman stated.

Since last fall, 353 patients have been transferred to hospitals outside their home health regions because of a lack of available beds in Winnipeg.

The focus lately has been on “repatriating” patients who live outside the city by transporting them to health centres closer to home,”to continue their care, when clinically appropriate, at sites closer to their home and support networks,” Shared Health stated.

Four spots added to respiratory therapist class

Katie May 2 minute read Preview

Four spots added to respiratory therapist class

Katie May 2 minute read Wednesday, Sep. 14, 2022

Four seats have been added to University of Manitoba’s most recent class of aspiring respiratory therapists as the provincial government promises to fill vacancies exposed by the pandemic.

The class size increased to 20 students in the three-year bachelor of respiratory therapy program this month as a result of $482,000 in provincial funding, which the government included in its 2022 budget.

Health Minister Audrey Gordon and Jon Reyes, minister of advanced education, officially announced the funding at the John Buhler Research Centre Wednesday afternoon, describing it as one example of the government’s investment in health care.

“I want to ensure Manitobans that our government… remains committed to strengthening the health-care system, now and for the years to come,” Gordon said.

Wednesday, Sep. 14, 2022

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / FREE PRESS FILES

Health Minister Audrey Gordon officially announced the funding at the John Buhler Research Centre Wednesday afternoon, describing it as one example of the government’s investment in health care.

ER hallway medicine pressure ‘every single shift’: HSC doctor

Katie May 4 minute read Preview

ER hallway medicine pressure ‘every single shift’: HSC doctor

Katie May 4 minute read Tuesday, Sep. 13, 2022

Hallway medicine for trauma patients at Winnipeg’s largest ER has become increasingly common, Health Sciences Centre emergency department staff say.

Over the weekend, a surge of severely injured people meant there were nearly a dozen patients who needed a spot in the six-bed resuscitation room. All of the ER’s acute beds were full of patients who needed to be admitted to hospital, leaving no room for new arrivals who needed to be assessed.

Sunday night “was probably the worst we have ever seen it, where we have every single bed blocked, but right now, it’s not much better,” an HSC emergency room doctor said Tuesday. The Free Press is not identifying him because he faces repercussions for speaking publicly.

“It’s happening every single shift. It’s happening every single day.”

Tuesday, Sep. 13, 2022

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Hallway medicine for trauma patients at Winnipeg’s largest ER has become increasingly common, Health Sciences Centre emergency department staff say.

Dying patient slams hospital for charging TV fee

Katie May 3 minute read Preview

Dying patient slams hospital for charging TV fee

Katie May 3 minute read Tuesday, Sep. 13, 2022

Television ranked low on the list of things Marvyn Cairns and his family wanted to think about after he was admitted to hospital with complications from terminal cancer.

However, the bill for a service he couldn’t use left him feeling ripped off during what are now his final days.

“It’s a shame. I spent 43 years in the floral industry and loved every minute of it, but then when you get to a public institution… I think it’s just a total rip-off,” the 86-year-old Winnipeg man said, criticizing the provincial government and hospital administration speaking to the Free Press by phone from his hospital bed Monday.

“The average person cannot afford it.”

Tuesday, Sep. 13, 2022

Melita ER to reopen after summer closure

Katie May 3 minute read Preview

Melita ER to reopen after summer closure

Katie May 3 minute read Monday, Sep. 12, 2022

Melita’s ER is on track to reopen next week after additional delays rooted in staff shortages.

The Melita Health Centre in the southwestern corner of the province next to the Saskatchewan border shut down for the summer due to lack of staff. It was supposed to reopen after the Labour Day long weekend, but some residents grew concerned when that didn’t happen.

The hospital is set to start admitting patients again later this week, while the emergency department is expected to reopen the week of Sept. 19, Mayor Bill Holden said Monday. It will initially open for 12 hours a day, with EMS staff set to fill in. A local focus group of councillors, citizens and health representatives has been meeting over the past couple of weeks to try to find a solution, Holden said, explaining the health centre couldn’t open sooner because staffing is still a major problem. Only now, they’re trying to convince staff to come back after a two-month summer shutdown.

“We want to try and open this facility and bring it back to what we had before. We’re still having trouble getting physicians to relocate and actually stay in these smaller communities — we’re not the only one,” Holden said.

Monday, Sep. 12, 2022

Melita’s ER is on track to reopen next week after additional delays rooted in staff shortages.

The Melita Health Centre in the southwestern corner of the province next to the Saskatchewan border shut down for the summer due to lack of staff. It was supposed to reopen after the Labour Day long weekend, but some residents grew concerned when that didn’t happen.

The hospital is set to start admitting patients again later this week, while the emergency department is expected to reopen the week of Sept. 19, Mayor Bill Holden said Monday. It will initially open for 12 hours a day, with EMS staff set to fill in. A local focus group of councillors, citizens and health representatives has been meeting over the past couple of weeks to try to find a solution, Holden said, explaining the health centre couldn’t open sooner because staffing is still a major problem. Only now, they’re trying to convince staff to come back after a two-month summer shutdown.

“We want to try and open this facility and bring it back to what we had before. We’re still having trouble getting physicians to relocate and actually stay in these smaller communities — we’re not the only one,” Holden said.

Rural hospital shutdowns continue into fall

Katie May 5 minute read Preview

Rural hospital shutdowns continue into fall

Katie May 5 minute read Sunday, Sep. 11, 2022

Summer shutdowns at some rural Manitoba hospitals have quietly extended into fall, and the uncertainty about reopening is frustrating residents.

In the southwestern corner of the province, a planned July-August closure of the Melita Health Centre is scheduled to continue at least into October. No reopening date has been set, and a return to normal operations isn’t promised.

“It is very frustrating and scary that you don’t know whether you’re going to get any care,” says 84-year-old Harvey Jellis. Jellis had a scare last month when he fell off a ladder on his farm south of Melita and broke his leg just below the hip. The local ER closure meant he had to be taken by ambulance to Virden, and spent a day there before he was transferred to Brandon to undergo surgery.

“If the Melita hospital had been open, I would’ve been evaluated there, and I would’ve been taken straight to Brandon, and I would’ve had the operation a day sooner. I would’ve been at least a day sooner on the road to recovery.”

Sunday, Sep. 11, 2022

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Asked if and when Melita’s ER will reopen, a spokesperson for the Prairie Mountain Health region didn’t commit.

Many gather for downtown street festival return

Katie May 2 minute read Preview

Many gather for downtown street festival return

Katie May 2 minute read Saturday, Sep. 10, 2022

For the first time in two years, Winnipeggers packed downtown streets ready for outdoor concerts, carnival rides, and rows upon rows of food trucks.

After its pandemic hiatus, ManyFest kicked off Friday and continues Sunday, drawing families and four-legged friends into a last-of-summer-fun atmosphere they’ve missed since 2019.

“It’s nice to see people out and about again,” Ciara Desierto said, fresh mini doughnuts in hand as she and her husband Camilo and their four- and six-year-old sons took in a Peg City basketball game on festival grounds along Broadway Saturday afternoon.

“We got here a little while ago, making the most out of the day,” Camilo agreed. “This is our first year back… so it’s nice to see everything going again.”

Saturday, Sep. 10, 2022

DANIEL CRUMP / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Festival goers enjoy some of the many food trucks that are a staple at ManyFest.

Police didn’t help stop bike theft, cyclist says

Katie May 3 minute read Preview

Police didn’t help stop bike theft, cyclist says

Katie May 3 minute read Saturday, Sep. 10, 2022

A cyclist says he’s left feeling violated after Winnipeg police officers refused to help him while his bike was being stolen.

Paul Gackle said he tried to flag down three uniformed police officers outside an Osborne Village coffee shop Friday because he believed a thief was in the process of stealing his bike.

His U-lock had been picked and his bike had been moved and locked to the rusty frame of another bicycle — a move Gackle saw as an indication a thief would return with a getaway vehicle. When he told the officers about the situation, Gackle says they laughed at him and said they couldn’t do anything. Their advice, he said, was to call a locksmith or get bolt cutters to cut his bike free. When Gackle returned with bolt cutters, his bike was gone. He said he was aware of the risk of having his bike stolen in Winnipeg, but officers’ indifference got to him.

“Maybe I’m naive, but I feel like in a different time, in a different era, when you knew your community police officer (they’d have said) let’s see what we can do. I mean, make a call. See if there’s something you can do,” said Gackle, who grew up in the city and returned here for the summer after living in the U.S.

Saturday, Sep. 10, 2022

TWITTER

Gackle posted on Twitter about what happened when he informed uniformed police officers that his bike was in the process of being stolen. Their response left him feeling violated and unimpressed.

Transit union endorses Murray for mayor

Katie May 1 minute read Preview

Transit union endorses Murray for mayor

Katie May 1 minute read Friday, Sep. 9, 2022

Winnipeg’s transit union stressed it is endorsing Glen Murray for mayor and asked another candidate to remove its reference to the union on her website.

The Amalgamated Transit Union issued a news release Friday to clarify it is endorsing Murray, and asked his opponent Jenny Motkaluk to remove a photo and quote related to the transit union from her posted platform, saying they were included on her site without prior knowledge or approval.

The transit union is part of the Winnipeg Labour Council, a coalition of unions with about 43,000 members, announced its endorsement of Murray last month.

Motkaluk’s online platform includes an image of a transit bus as well as a photo of her with union local 1505 president Romeo Ignacio, along with a quote attributed to Ignacio stating: “Our political leaders should be doing something to address the growing concerns about safety for our workers, city workers, and for the public transit users.”

Friday, Sep. 9, 2022

Winnipeg’s transit union stressed it is endorsing Glen Murray for mayor and asked another candidate to remove its reference to the union on her website.

The Amalgamated Transit Union issued a news release Friday to clarify it is endorsing Murray, and asked his opponent Jenny Motkaluk to remove a photo and quote related to the transit union from her posted platform, saying they were included on her site without prior knowledge or approval.

The transit union is part of the Winnipeg Labour Council, a coalition of unions with about 43,000 members, announced its endorsement of Murray last month.

Motkaluk’s online platform includes an image of a transit bus as well as a photo of her with union local 1505 president Romeo Ignacio, along with a quote attributed to Ignacio stating: “Our political leaders should be doing something to address the growing concerns about safety for our workers, city workers, and for the public transit users.”

Woodstock threatened with lawsuit

Katie May 4 minute read Preview

Woodstock threatened with lawsuit

Katie May 4 minute read Friday, Sep. 9, 2022

A public spat between two Winnipeg mayoral candidates at a seniors forum has sparked the threat of a lawsuit.

Don Woodstock has been threatened with a defamation suit over comments he made about the local construction industry in reference to the brother of opponent Jenny Motkaluk.

Hours after the two clashed at the forum in East Kildonan this week, Woodstock was threatened with legal action by civil litigator Robert Tapper, who stated in an email to Woodstock that he’s been retained by Bayview Construction Ltd.

Motkaluk’s brother, John Motkaluk, is one of the founders and vice-president of Bayview Construction. During the forum, Woodstock repeated his concerns about a conflict of interest at city hall if Motkaluk were to become mayor given her brother’s position in the large construction firm, which has bid on municipal projects.

Friday, Sep. 9, 2022

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Mayoral candidate Don Woodstock (right) has been threatened with a defamation suit over comments he made about the local construction industry in reference to the brother of opponent Jenny Motaklauk (left).

Judge grants visits to biological parents in adoption case

Katie May 4 minute read Preview

Judge grants visits to biological parents in adoption case

Katie May 4 minute read Thursday, Sep. 8, 2022

A judge decided to overstep her jurisdiction by granting biological parents weekly visits with their child once he is adopted by his foster family, after she identified a gap in Manitoba’s child-protection law.

The family court decision Aug. 30 points to systemic problems, bias, and a series of errors made by Child and Family Services social workers who failed to work with African immigrants whose children were apprehended while the mother was accused of criminal charges.

During the trial, shortly after his home address became part of the court record, the biological father was deported to Nigeria — five years after his student visa had expired.

Justice Kaye Dunlop rejected assessments that found him unfit to be a father. The judge said CFS didn’t help the biological parents.

Thursday, Sep. 8, 2022

A judge decided to overstep her jurisdiction by granting biological parents weekly visits with their child once he is adopted by his foster family, after she identified a gap in Manitoba’s child-protection law.

The family court decision Aug. 30 points to systemic problems, bias, and a series of errors made by Child and Family Services social workers who failed to work with African immigrants whose children were apprehended while the mother was accused of criminal charges.

During the trial, shortly after his home address became part of the court record, the biological father was deported to Nigeria — five years after his student visa had expired.

Justice Kaye Dunlop rejected assessments that found him unfit to be a father. The judge said CFS didn’t help the biological parents.

Candidates’ clash boils over at forum

Katie May 4 minute read Preview

Candidates’ clash boils over at forum

Katie May 4 minute read Wednesday, Sep. 7, 2022

The first mayoral forum of the Winnipeg municipal election took a dramatic turn, after two participants clashed and one walked out in protest.

Nine of the 15 registered candidates vying for the mayor’s chair in the October vote participated in a two-hour panel discussion Wednesday, hosted by the Good Neighbours Active Living Centre.

Idris Ademuyiwa Adelakun, Rana Bokhari, Christopher Clacio, Shaun Loney, Jenny Motkaluk, Glen Murray, Robert-Falcon Ouellette, Govind Thawani and Don Woodstock fielded a few questions from seniors in the East Kildonan area, but the forum’s most heated moments didn’t result from audience interaction.

Motkaluk and her team stormed out with a half-hour remaining in the session, after Woodstock mentioned her brother and suggested city funds are lining the pockets of construction executives. (John Motkaluk is vice-president and one of the founders of Bayview Construction Ltd.)

Wednesday, Sep. 7, 2022

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Good Neighbours Active Living Centre hosted a mayoral forum with 10 candidates discussing their platforms and taking questions from residents Wednesday. Mayoral candidates, Jennifer Motkaluk and Don Woodstock get into a debate after a member of the audience asks Don a question.

HSC emergency department forced to close half its beds

Katie May 5 minute read Preview

HSC emergency department forced to close half its beds

Katie May 5 minute read Friday, Aug. 19, 2022

Manitoba’s largest emergency department had to close about half of its beds Friday due to a lack of nurses.

Of 69 total beds, only the ones for the most seriously ill patients will remain open at Health Sciences Centre because nursing shifts are operating at about 30 per cent capacity.

Shared Health has cautioned the public that patients with less serious needs can expect to wait even longer as the hospital tries to call in additional staff to fill shifts this weekend.

One ER doctor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they’ve never seen this many bed closures in one day during their career. The doctor described it as the equivalent of a small-town hospital closing its ER entirely.

Friday, Aug. 19, 2022

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

HSC Emergency department.

Health officials to update Manitobans on pediatric COVID vaccine boosters

Katie May 3 minute read Preview

Health officials to update Manitobans on pediatric COVID vaccine boosters

Katie May 3 minute read Friday, Aug. 19, 2022

The province is expected to release more information about its rollout plan for pediatric vaccine doses.

On Friday, Health Canada announced it has approved Pfizer’s first booster dose for children age five to 11. Asked for details about Manitoba’s booster immunization plans, deputy chief provincial public health officer Dr. Jazz Atwal said an announcement is coming.

“We’ll be providing some more updates on that next week, we’re just working through that and the recommendations that we’ll have from a public-health perspective,” he said.

When it comes to the future rollout of COVID-19 vaccines for adults, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, previously said the province would not be further expanding eligibility for fourth doses, and would reconsider that position after more effective bivalent — targeting two separate virus strains — vaccines become available. They’re expected later this fall.

Friday, Aug. 19, 2022

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Dr. Jazz Atwal, deputy chief provincial public health office, didn’t say Friday whether the province is considering expanding fourth-dose eligibility.

Ex-nurses blame red tape for holding up return to workplace

Katie May 6 minute read Preview

Ex-nurses blame red tape for holding up return to workplace

Katie May 6 minute read Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022

Former nurses who want to go back to work are calling out the regulatory red tape that’s in their way, even as hospitals across the province struggle to fill nursing shifts.

The provincial government is promising to deal with the “systemic” problem via a human resources health-care committee that’s set to meet for the first time next week.

A group of nearly 30 experienced, but currently unlicensed, nurses has been lobbying the government to fast-track their return to the workforce.

The process of renewing their registration through the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba is too long and too expensive, despite temporary pandemic exceptions, says retired nurse Shirley Herlick, who is representing 27 former nurses who’ve all been working as immunizers during the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

“No question at all. People need the care right now,” said Kendra Haight, who works as a pandemic immunizer.

Filipina nurse gains right to work in Manitoba

Katie May 2 minute read Preview

Filipina nurse gains right to work in Manitoba

Katie May 2 minute read Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022

An internationally educated nurse has won the right to be registered to work in Manitoba after she became certified elsewhere in Canada.

Ronna Sigua, who was educated in the Philippines, won her appeal to the Council of the College of Registered Nurses following her July 26 hearing. On that same day, the provincial government issued a compliance order under the Labour Mobility Act that instructed the college to remove the clinical assessment requirement “effective immediately.”

The college was violating domestic trade agreements by not allowing Sigua to work unless she completed additional assessments.

Sigua tried to register as a nurse in Manitoba in 2013, but the college informed her she needed additional education, and that the type of education she needed wasn’t available in Manitoba. Refresher courses in the province that are designed for international nurses wouldn’t suffice, Sigua was told, according to the panel’s written decision. In 2017, Sigua completed an international-nurses bridge program in Quebec and passed Quebec’s professional nursing exam. She was registered as a nurse in Quebec, and later in Ontario through mobility legislation. But when she applied again to Manitoba’s college in March 2021, she was told she couldn’t be registered until she completed a clinical competency assessment, even though she was registered elsewhere in Canada.

Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022

An internationally educated nurse has won the right to be registered to work in Manitoba after she became certified elsewhere in Canada.

Ronna Sigua, who was educated in the Philippines, won her appeal to the Council of the College of Registered Nurses following her July 26 hearing. On that same day, the provincial government issued a compliance order under the Labour Mobility Act that instructed the college to remove the clinical assessment requirement “effective immediately.”

The college was violating domestic trade agreements by not allowing Sigua to work unless she completed additional assessments.

Sigua tried to register as a nurse in Manitoba in 2013, but the college informed her she needed additional education, and that the type of education she needed wasn’t available in Manitoba. Refresher courses in the province that are designed for international nurses wouldn’t suffice, Sigua was told, according to the panel’s written decision. In 2017, Sigua completed an international-nurses bridge program in Quebec and passed Quebec’s professional nursing exam. She was registered as a nurse in Quebec, and later in Ontario through mobility legislation. But when she applied again to Manitoba’s college in March 2021, she was told she couldn’t be registered until she completed a clinical competency assessment, even though she was registered elsewhere in Canada.

Wastewater monkeypox testing underway across Canada

Katie May 2 minute read Preview

Wastewater monkeypox testing underway across Canada

Katie May 2 minute read Monday, Aug. 15, 2022

Wastewater testing to detect the monkeypox virus has begun in Winnipeg and 12 other Canadian cities as scientists work to determine how accurate the tests are.

Three types of tests, including one developed in Winnipeg at the National Microbiology Lab, are now being used to measure rates of monkeypox in municipal wastewater, the Public Health Agency of Canada confirmed. The Canadian-developed test could make genomic sequencing easier, meaning if the test is accurate, it would make it much simpler to detect the monkeypox virus in sewage.

The evaluation of the test is nearly complete, a PHAC spokesperson stated.

“It is unique because it allows for easy genomic sequence confirmation. This means that it may be easier to verify if the monkeypox virus is present in a community,” the statement reads.

Monday, Aug. 15, 2022

MIKE DEAL / FREE PRESS FILES

Three types of tests, including one developed in Winnipeg at the National Microbiology Lab, are now being used to measure rates of monkeypox in municipal wastewater, the Public Health Agency of Canada confirmed.