Today, in an announcement about mandating either Covid-19 vaccinations or frequent testing for designated government employees, Premier Pallister and Dr. Brent Roussin also said that more information will come later this week about a probable indoor mask mandate and other facilities, events, and services where vaccinations may be required.
Read the press release below for more information:
August 24, 2021
MANITOBA WILL REQUIRE COVID-19 VACCINATIONS OR TESTING FOR DESIGNATED GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
The Manitoba government will require all provincial employees who work with vulnerable populations to be fully immunized for COVID-19 by Oct. 31, or undergo regular testing, to protect Manitoba against a fourth COVID-19 wave, Premier Brian Pallister announced today.
In addition, the province will put indoor mask requirements in place across Manitoba in the coming days, including in schools, and will expand the list of activities and services that can only be accessed if an individual is fully immunized.
“These steps are necessary to protect children in Manitoba, avoid another lockdown, and keep our health-care system safe from a fourth wave of COVID-19 and the dangerous delta variant,” said Pallister. “Despite having among the highest rates of vaccination in Canada, children in Manitoba are not yet eligible for the vaccine and we have to take every step we can to protect them from this virus, especially as they prepare to return to the classroom this fall.”
The new public health orders will require all designated provincial public service workers who have ongoing contact with vulnerable populations, especially children, to be fully immunized or submit to testing up to three times per week. Designated workers include:
• direct health-care providers and workers, including but not limited to physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, support service staff and others deemed appropriate for each site/area/program in public and private health-care settings, and direct care providers are defined as anyone who may come in contact with patients/residents/clients, patient/resident/client care environments, patient/resident/client care equipment, and blood and body fluids;
• educational workers including teachers, school and educational support staff, practicum students, bus drivers and custodial staff;
• child-care workers including staff and practicum students working in licensed early learning and child care facilities;
• public servants and funded-agency employees who work in in high-risk settings with direct, ongoing contact with the public or clients, such as those who work in congregate/residential settings or group homes, or work with vulnerable populations including children, or have to enter the home of a client or who regularly visit sites with vaccine mandates in place as part of their duties; and
• Manitoba Justice employees who work with vulnerable people and in correctional facilities.
Each designated worker will be required to be fully immunized and provide proof of vaccination, or undergo regular COVID-19 testing. Fully-immunized individuals are those who have received both doses (any combination) of an approved two-dose COVID-19 vaccine (AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna), or a single dose of an approved single-dose COVID-19 vaccine (Janssen/Johnson & Johnson) with more than 14 days having passed since the final vaccination was received.
Designated employees who are not fully immunized or cannot provide proof of vaccination will need to undergo regular COVID-19 testing, up to three times a week for full-time employees, and provide proof of a negative test result before they can resume working.
These employees will be required to be fully immunized with two doses of COVID-19 vaccine. The first dose needs to be completed by Sept. 7, the first day of school, and the second dose completed by Oct. 17.
Acceptable proof of vaccination will include the digital or physical Manitoba Immunization Card, or a secure printed provincial immunization record from either public health or the Shared Health online portal that shows immunization dates.
As an additional protection measure against the rising delta variant and a possible fourth wave of COVID-19, the province will require that everyone wear masks in public indoor settings including schools.
In addition, the province will expand more broadly the list of facilities, events and services that will require people attending to be fully immunized.
“Manitoba led the country in creating a secure Manitoba ‘vax card’ with your COVID-19 immunization information,” said Pallister. “That gives every immunized Manitoban the ability to travel safely and will now be your passport to doing even more safely against COVID-19.”
Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer, stated all these measures are necessary to guard against the delta variant and a fourth wave of COVID-19, and avoid new public health restrictions and lockdowns.
“By requiring people working with vulnerable populations to get immunized, wear masks and expand the use of vaccine passports, we can protect those most at risk of COVID-19 and avoid lockdown measures that affect everybody,” said Roussin. “This is now a pandemic of the unvaccinated and we have to make sure that this does not lead to health effects on others and our health-care system.”
Roussin noted that public health officials also recommend that private businesses and organizations follow the province’s lead and consider mandating COVID-19 vaccination for their employees to protect their customers and staff, and to reduce the chance of an outbreak at their workplaces.
Health and Seniors Care Minister Audrey Gordon said these moves support the province’s ongoing efforts to keep leading the nation in vaccine uptake.
“Manitoba is demonstrating ongoing leadership and will take every step possible to support community vaccination initiatives to protect people who face barriers to vaccination, seniors, children and youth, as well as those experiencing shelter insecurity and anyone at a higher risk of contracting the virus,” said Gordon.
The minister said her department and others will work closely with unions representing all provincial employees, as well as key business and other stakeholders, to ensure the orders are executed smoothly.
For more information on how to book a vaccine appointment, visit www.protectmb.ca/.
To read this press release on the Province’s site, please visit: https://news.gov.mb.ca/news/index.html?item=52163&posted=2021-08-24
The MRFA will notify our members as more information becomes available about if or how these mandates will affect our industry.