Winnipeg Free Press

Covid-19 Briefing

A roundup of COVID-19 developments for Tuesday Sept. 14, 2021

Manitoba is home to bison, not elephants.

But this not so little pandemic on the prairies has produced a pachyderm now making its home in the Southern Health region.

Of course, no one in Winkler or Altona or Stanley wants to talk about the elephant in the room or on the roam as COVID cases surge among the unvaccinated swath of our province that hugs the U.S. border. Even worse, we can’t get confirmation of the beast’s presence by those overseeing the provincial response to this latest twist in the deadly story that is always going viral. 

But rest assured, there is a problem in Southern Health that’s likely to get even worse because of the refusal to acknowledge it publicly and to deal with it directly. 

Today, the region was home to 23 new cases, nearly half of the 56 positive test results announced in the province. Moreover, it has a per capita infection rate about four times higher than the much more populous Winnipeg region. And don’t get me started on how the region’s low vaccination rate has now become a badge of honour. 

Yet, nothing seems to happen beyond more of the region’s patients being transferred to ICUs in Winnipeg.

I say that nothing seems to be happening beyond more ICU transfers because a year ago, it was a far different story in a different health region. 

In late August 2020, case counts in the Prairie Mountain Health region were on the rise, but the province moved quickly to respond to the public health threat before it became a problem of elephantine proportions. When the active case count hit 116, the province announced code-orange level restrictions for the entire health region, including the province’s second largest city, Brandon.

By contrast, there are now 158 active cases in Southern Health and no sign that anything comparable to the action taken in Prairie Mountain is in the works.

I’m sure there are good reasons why the province isn’t administering the same bitter medicine in the region home to the new premier and several of his cabinet and caucus colleagues.

I just wish someone would explain to the public what those reasons were because Southern Health doesn’t have near enough room in its ICUs for COVID patients and an elephant, too. 



One programming note: Tomorrow is the second of four virtual town halls in our Reopening MB series. This week, arts reporters Eva Wasney and Ben Sigurdson host a discussion on the recovery of the food and drink industry and will be joined by Shaun Jeffrey, executive director of Manitoba Restaurant and Foodservices Association; Melanie Foucault, co-owner of Preservation Hall Eatery and Wine Bar; and John Heim, president of Torque Brewing. 

This virtual town hall takes place at 12 p.m., Wednesday Sept. 15; register for your free ticket and submit questions for our panellists here

— Paul Samyn, Winnipeg Free Press editor


Chart showing daily status cumulative counts of positive COVID-19 cases


Chart showing daily status cumulative counts of positive COVID-19 cases


Chart showing number of active cases of COVID-19 by health district


Graphic showing daily number of vaccine doses administered in Manitoba


Chart showing administered and unused COVID-19 vaccine doses in Manitoba


Chart showing percentage of partial and fully vaccinated people in each province


Chart showing number of new cases, per capita, in each province in the last 14 days

To see a larger selection of charts showing the state of COVID-19 provincially and nationally, visit COVID-19 by the numbers 


• Provincial health officials announced 56 new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths in Manitoba on Tuesday. New cases were identified in all health regions, including 12 cases in Winnipeg, 23 cases in Southern Health, nine cases in the Northern Health region, eight in Prairie Mountain, and four in Interlake-Eastern. There are 576 active cases in Manitoba, with 68 people in hospital, 14 of them in intensive care. The five-day test positivity rate is 3.2 per cent in Manitoba. Officials removed one previously-reported COVID-19 death, bringing the total to 1,201.

• The City of Winnipeg will require all front-line employees working with vulnerable residents in high-risk settings or in direct contact with the public to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Employees must have their first dose by Sept. 30 and their follow up by Oct. 28. People working in public safety and protection, recreational services, public transportation and customer service roles are affected. 

For the latest information on current public health orders, restrictions and other guidance, visit the provincial government's website

All Manitobans born on or before Dec. 31, 2009 are eligible to schedule a first-dose vaccine appointment. Anyone who has received a first dose of any vaccine can now book their second-dose appointment. There must be a minimum of 28 days between receiving the first and second shots. For the latest information on vaccination, visit the provincial government's website.

Manitobans who have received all required doses of a vaccine at least 14 days ago can request an immunization card to prove complete vaccination. To request a digital or physical card, visit the provincial government's website.  


• An executive at the largest health care system in North Dakota says its hospitals in Fargo could use up to 300 additional nurses to handle COVID-19 cases and is bumping up incentives to fill the void. "We really are in crisis," said Dr. Doug Griffin, Sanford Health vice president and medical officer in Fargo, which serves a metropolitan area of about 250,000 people in North Dakota and Minnesota. Hospitals across the region are filling up with both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients, Griffin said.  

• The World Health Organization and partners say they hope to provide Africa with about 30 per cent of the COVID-19 vaccines they need by February, half of the 60 per cent goal African leaders had aimed for by the end of this year. WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called the vast disparity in vaccination rates between rich and poor countries a "solvable problem." Currently, fewer than four per cent of people in Africa have been fully immunized. 

• The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin is in self-isolation after people in his inner circle became infected with the coronavirus. The Kremlin said Tuesday that Putin tested negative for the coronavirus. Putin, who is fully vaccinated with Russia’s Sputnik V, held several public engagements indoors Monday. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov say Putin is "absolutely healthy" but came in contact with someone who contracted the coronavirus. 


"The result of this vaccination campaign is we have one of the most free societies and one of the most open economies in Europe." 

— British Prime Minister Boris Johnson discusses the country's COVID-19 vaccine strategy, which is expanding to offering a third doses to everyone over 50 and other vulnerable populations





The Winnipeg Free Press invites you to share your opinion on this story in a letter to the editor. A selection of letters to the editor are published daily.

To submit a letter:
• fill out the form on this page, or
• email, or
• mail Letters to the Editor, 1355 Mountain Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R2X 3B6.

Letters must include the writer’s full name, address, and a daytime phone number. Letters are edited for length and clarity.


Advertise With Us