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COVID-19: Don’t Spread It

“If I get COVID, it’s not going to bother me.”

Standing in a vacant Operating Room at Manitoba’s Health Sciences Centre, Dr. Edward Buchel, Provincial Specialty Lead for Surgery with Shared Health acknowledges that most healthy Manitobans will not experience severe symptoms if they are infected with COVID-19.

That reality, he says, is no reason for Manitobans to let down their guard.

“You never know when you’re going to slip and fall and tear something in your shoulder or your knee,” Buchel says. “While our health system is being overrun by high COVID-19 case counts, you cannot access the health-care system for quality of life surgeries.”

“Surgery affects everyone.”

Gesturing at the empty operating room and vacant surgery floor around him, Dr. Buchel references the thousands of elective surgeries that have been cancelled as surgical staff have been redeployed to support areas of the health system caring for the sickest COVID-19 patients.

“It’s important that people understand the impact of COVID, even if they themselves may not be at risk of severe illness,” added Buchel. “We have full floors, full ICUs. Our hospital has taken burn units and step down units and every spare space we have, to be COVID units for sick patients. Patient who are going to die without that care.”

Like all Manitobans, Buchel acknowledges the COVID-fatigue that has set in after nearly a year fighting the virus, but emphasizes the importance of ongoing adherence to public health guidance.

“We’re all getting tired of the restrictions associated with COVID-19 but we know that they work to limit the spread, he says”. “Vaccines are coming, but until then we will overrun our system if we stay at the current positivity rate. Say what you want about COVID, don’t spread it.”

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