After two long years of COVID-19, Manitoba is just days away from having all public health orders completely lifted.
Restaurants and businesses have re-opened, hospitalizations are declining, and 82 per cent of Manitobans have been fully vaccinated.
It’s bringing hope for a brighter spring, even though the virus is still circulating. But there is cautious optimism.
“We’re certainly in a very different spot than we were two years ago, or even one year ago, or really three-four months ago before Omicron surged,” Winnipeg epidemiologist Cynthia Carr said.
“It’s going to get better as more people get boosted and as better boosters become available,” epidemiologist Raywat Deonandan adds. “But all that can change if a new variant arises, so we can’t take our eye off the ball quite yet.”
It’s expected the shift in messaging will be tough for some people. Psychologist Dr. Syras Derksen says people need to practice patience with themselves and each other.
“People adjust through these experiences,” Derksen said. “And one of the things that can be the most challenging isn’t so much that people won’t get there, it’s that people get there at different paces.”
“There’s going to be this reciprocal anxiety as we reduce things, as people kind of begin to live as they have before when people weren’t wearing masks as regularly and when people weren’t following as strict health guidelines and things like that. I think that there is going to be a process of getting used to it.”
Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin says we’re in a good position right now to lift all remaining restrictions on Tuesday.
“We’re not expecting any significant increase in the severe outcomes. It’s always a possibility, we’ve been thrown a lot of curveballs with this pandemic.” Roussin said.
“We feel where we’re at right now with Omicron and the amount of transmission that’s already occurred, and the amount of vaccine protection we have, we’re really not expecting those significant changes but certainly prepared to respond if so.”
What have Winnipeggers learned from COVID-19?
Two more COVID-19 deaths were reported in Manitoba Friday, bringing the provincial total to 1,710.
417 people are in hospital, which us down seven from Thursday, while 23 people are in ICU, up one from a day ago.
Meanwhile, at The Forks, a memorial has been set up to honour all the Winnipeggers who have died from the virus. The city says that is 1,058 people, as of Wednesday’s numbers.
“We have continued to lose Winnipeggers sooner than we would have without this pandemic,” said Winnipeg mayor Brian Bowman. “And this memorial is meant as a small gesture to the families and friends who’ve lost someone to COVID-19.”
COVID-19 memorial set up at The Forks to honour Winnipeggers who’ve died from virus
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