As other provinces announce plans and goals for re-opening, acting provincial health minister Kelvin Goertzen says Manitoba’s plans are in the works.
"I recognize that there continues to be frustration around restrictions. It's hard when we see other provinces around us reopening, and with their reopening plans, and we will have a reopening plan as well and you'll see it relatively soon."
One of the issues for Manitoba is the third wave of COVID19 cases that arrived later than other provinces. Caught in the middle of a tremendous strain on the healthcare system and active case counts rising, Goertzen says he’s hearing from both those who want fewer restrictions as well as those who want more.
"There was a call from medical doctors in Manitoba to do a lockdown so that everybody had to remain completely at home," Goertzen says. "I know that there are many who support that who were frustrated that it didn't happen. I also know and I hear from many who are frustrated that there are still restrictions. And so I understand that there is frustration on every side of this."
Dr. Jazz Atwal, deputy chief provincial public health officer, echoed the sentiments in a press conference Friday saying that getting through the current dire situation is the priority.
Announcements this week from Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia all included multi-step plans to a return to pre-pandemic life dependent on immunization levels and keeping case numbers and hospitalizations stable. Some have restrictions slowly lifting through the summer while others, like Alberta, are more aggressive in their approach with plans to be fully open in July.
Goertzen is optimistic we will get to a similar point as well.
"We simply need to get through this third wave, get the reopening plan going, and I think that that will give a lot more optimism.
"We've seen the evidence in other countries, and now we're seeing the evidence in other provinces, and we're actually seeing the evidence in Manitoba too, because there's been good effect in our personal care homes and good effect in the north, generally where they've had higher rates of vaccination."
Saskatchewan reached the second step of their provincial "Re-Opening Roadmap" this week as 70 per cent of the province’s population over the age of 30 has now received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Goertzen is hoping for much the same as the Premier has hinted at Manitoba’s reopening plans being announced in the next couple of weeks.
"I want to see it. I want it out there too. It just has to be at the right time, but it's not that far away," Goertzen says.