Officials urge Manitobans to get COVID-19 booster quickly as data shows exponential Omicron growth –

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It’s a familiar message and it’s being told for the third time.
Manitoba health officials urged people Wednesday to get their third COVID-19 shot as soon as they’re able to do so.
Health Minister Audrey Gordon, chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin and vaccine implementation task force head Dr. Joss Reimer made the plea as the latest variant of concern, Omicron, gains a significant foothold in Canada.
Preliminary modelling released Wednesday suggests the number of new daily COVID-19 cases could quadruple or more as the Omicron variant spreads in the coming weeks.
Dr. Brent Roussin says so far there’s been few Omicron cases in the province but he says it’s been reported in 7 provinces and territories
— Brittany Greenslade (@BrittAtGlobal) December 15, 2021

Roussin said that means Manitoba could see 1,000 new COVID-19 cases a day early in the new year.
“We have detected very few cases in Manitoba at this point,” said Roussin, saying Manitoba has six confirmed cases, involving two vaccinated and four unvaccinated people.
“We’re still learning about the severity, we’re still learning about the impacts,” said Roussin, pointing to a data graph that was shown to media. “You can see it has a clear growth advantage over Delta.”
“In the U.K., (it’s a) doubling time of 2.5 days,” Roussin added, noting that Delta doubled over 34 days.
Roussin said there are few cases of the variant in Manitoba right now, but it has proven very transmissible in Ontario and the United Kingdom.
Manitoba is already struggling to keep up with the demand for intensive care beds, and the government is not ruling out sending more patients out of province.
Manitoba warns we could potentially see 800+ cases a day of covid-19 if Omicron spreads the way it has in Ontario (and elsewhere) #mbpoli #covid19mb
— Steve Lambert (@stevelambertwpg) December 15, 2021

Roussin reiterated the message he’s been saying for nearly two years: to follow public health orders, wash your hands, wear masks and get vaccinated.
He also said large family gatherings should be reconsidered for the holidays, and health conditions should be considered before heading to things like NHL games or the Winnipeg Blue Bombers‘ Grey Cup celebration Wednesday night.
“We always have options to move forward with further messaging or restrictions if necessary.”
Reimer said officials are “strongly urging all Manitobans, 60 years of age or older … to go get their third dose immediately.”
She says do whatever is in your power to protect the health care system
— Brittany Greenslade (@BrittAtGlobal) December 15, 2021

She also urged all adults living in First Nations communities to get their third doses as soon as possible.
“It is critical … you get get your booster dose before you gather with loved ones.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the country’s premiers Tuesday night to talk about the latest COVID-19 variant of concern, dubbed Omicron.
We’re committed to doing whatever it takes to save lives, protect Canadians, and limit the spread of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant as much as possible. On the phone this evening, @DLeBlancNB and I spoke about that with the premiers. More here:
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) December 15, 2021

“This Omicron variant is scary, and it’s the last thing anyone needs — to have to worry, again, about another wave,” Trudeau said in an interview with media in Toronto on Tuesday.
“But if we keep getting vaccinated and people get their booster shots and we get kids vaccinated and we continue to follow public health rules, we’re going to make it through this winter and into a much better summer.”
There have been few cases of Omicron in Manitoba so far, but the variant is more virulent than other variants and is spreading quickly in Ontario and Quebec.
Read more: Omicron COVID variant is ‘scary,’ Trudeau says, but summer will be ‘better’
However, according to Canada’s chief public health officer Teresa Tam, some early studies show it might not be as severe as the Delta variant. But with winter weather kicking into high gear and more people gathering indoors, officials have warned that the months ahead could create ideal conditions for COVID-19 to spread.
Tam said the best thing Canadians can do right now is to follow public health advice and “get your booster shots.”
Getting booster shots in Manitoba has proven tricky in the past few days, with demand surging and appointments unavailable at the RBC Convention Centre supersite until mid-January 2022.
— with files from Rachel Gilmore and The Canadian Press
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