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Manitoba asked for help even as it dropped vaccine pass

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OTTAWA — As it prepared to remove Manitoba’s vaccination pass, the provincial government quietly pleaded for more help from the federal government to shore up its overloaded health system.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 01/03/2022 (337 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

OTTAWA — As it prepared to remove Manitoba’s vaccination pass, the provincial government quietly pleaded for more help from the federal government to shore up its overloaded health system.

Winnipeg doctors were stunned late Tuesday afternoon by a tweet announcing the Canadian Red Cross was again deploying workers to Manitoba, “in response to a request for federal assistance… to help manage COVID-19 outbreaks in the province.”

The message, from Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair, took place the same day Manitoba dropped vaccination requirements for non-essential businesses and gatherings.

ADRIAN WYLD / THE CANADIAN PRESS Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair’s office said Manitoba asked for the extra help on Feb. 24, to extend the deployment that started with 10 health-care workers, which was eventually lowered to five.

Blair’s office said Manitoba asked for the extra help on Feb. 24, to extend the deployment that started with 10 health-care workers, which was eventually lowered to five.

Three of those staff, all nurses, will stay at the Health Sciences Centre for two more weeks.

“The support will run until March 14, and help fulfil short-term, urgent needs and address staffing shortages,” wrote Blair’s spokeswoman, Annie Cullinan.

The Manitoba government had not publicly revealed it had sought more help.

“This is simply a request for continued support of human health resources to augment Manitoba’s COVID-19 response,” wrote a provincial spokeswoman.

“While Manitoba’s COVID-19 case counts and hospitalization numbers continue to trend downwards, Manitoba’s ICU and acute-care centres continue to be a few weeks behind those trends.”

Winnipeg virologist Julie Lajoie questioned why the province plans to remove its mask mandate on March 15 while telling Ottawa it needs outside help.

This marks the eighth time Ottawa has responded to a request for assistance from Manitoba related to COVID-19, including with immunization campaigns.

dylan.robertson@freepress.mb.ca

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