The faces of Manitoba's COVID-19 response are sharing how the past year has gone, thanking others who helped along the way.
Dr. Brent Roussin
Manitoba's Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, is the most recognizable face of the COVID-19 pandemic in Manitoba. Faithfully briefing the public on COVID-19 since January of 2020, Roussin's "we are all in this together" has been the soundtrack of Manitoba for the past year.
The doctor says it is difficult to sum up the past year.
"The pre-pandemic state seems like a lifetime ago to me and to other people," he says.
Recounting the events of the past year, Roussin says the whole world was uncertain of what was to come. He says Manitoba's numbers have been fluctuating, thankful for lowered numbers and wanting more vaccines to be out into arms.
"We have to be really cognizant. We can't see that repeat of what we had in November and December."
Roussin says there "absolutely is reason to be optimistic right now. But that doesn't mean we can let our guard down."
Often seated to his right, Lanette Siragusa, Chief Nursing Officer, is recognized as a positive voice behind the pandemic. She has recently been awarded the Strength in the Storm Excellence Award from Nursing the Future.
Dr. Jazz Atwal often sits in for Roussin during press conferences, offering firm advice and family stories.
Premier Brian Pallister
As Manitoba's leader, the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba leader has faced criticism for the province's response to the pandemic. Calling himself the "Stern Dad" he has had no issues taking criticism.
"I am confident that in the years ahead, Manitobans will look back on this moment in our province’s history and they will be proud of their efforts. I know I am," he says in a statement.
He says he is reflecting on the over 900 loves lost in Manitoba.
"While there is much hope on the horizon with the advancements of COVID-19 vaccines, I must remind Manitobans that we still have long way to go before all Manitobans are fully protected from this deadly virus."
He is thanking the healthcare workers for their efforts over the past year.
Dr. Joss Reimer
As the face of Manitoba's COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, Dr. Joss Reimer is the newest staple to the COVID-19 team Manitobans sees, but she is not new to the efforts.
"In some ways, it feels like it has been a lot more than a year, and in some other ways I can't believe we are already at a year since the first case," Reimer says, calling the past year a "blur."
She says those working in public health have not been able to take a breath in the past year, but has seen the results of the efforts and is impressed at how fast the COVID-19 vaccine arrived.
"If you had asked me in the fall when I thought a vaccine would be ready, I would not have said December."
Reimer says it has been exciting to help be a "light at the end of the tunnel." She is excited to get the last year behind her, looking to the future of vaccinating Manitobans as quickly as possible.
The doctor is often joined by Dr. Marcia Anderson, leader of the First Nations Vaccine Task Force and Dr. Johanu Botha, Reimer's co-lead, during the press conferences.