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Manitobans cautioned as province enters fourth wave

Tuesday, September 28, 2021 @ 1:31 PM | By Terry Davidson

Manitoba’s government is reminding its residents to continue practising physical distancing and get vaccinated as the province deals with its fourth wave of COVID-19.

The Sept. 27 warning comes the day the province reported 93 new cases, 67 of which were found in people not fully vaccinated. There were also two virus-related deaths over the weekend, according to a government news release.

And as of that day, 366 new cases had been identified since Sept. 23.

“Public health officials advise that Manitoba is now clearly at the beginning of the fourth wave of COVID-19 cases,” states the release. “Manitobans are reminded to continue to practice the fundamentals, reduce the number of close contacts and to get immunized as soon as possible.”

As of then, there were 646 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 77 people in hospital and 19 in intensive care. There have been 1,209 COVID-19-relatred deaths in the province.  

Earlier this month, the province took action to address the impending fourth wave, as well as the spread of the delta variant.  

On Sept. 3, Manitoba brought into force its vaccine passport system, making proof of immunization a requirement for a range of places and activities, including restaurants, nightclubs, movie theatres, fitness centres, indoor group recreational activities and concerts and sporting events.

Days later, the province tightened its public health orders, which included a significant reduction in the number of people allowed at outdoor gatherings.

Reports of Canada entering a fourth wave surfaced in August as spikes in new cases of COVID-19 and its delta variant were seen in Ontario, Quebec, B.C., Saskatchewan and Alberta.

As far as Manitoba’s judicial system goes, the province’s Court of Queen’s bench made it a requirement earlier this month that all its judges be fully vaccinated in order to enter courtrooms and chambers.

As of, Sept. 10, all but one had received the full round of shots. But Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal said at the time the lone judge would be vaccinated in the “immediate future.” 

As for the province’s Appeal Court, it is refusing to say if it has a vaccine policy in place for its judges, arguing that revealing such a thing would cause the public to question judges’ impartiality when hearing future challenges to vaccine mandates.

That stance, which has been adopted by several other courts in Canada, has been flagged by some legal minds as being nonsensical, legally flawed and running contrary to public interest.

In contrast, other courts have been more forthcoming.

The Supreme Court of Canada, for example, recently told The Lawyer’s Daily that all nine of its judges have been fully vaccinated. Another is New Brunswick’s Appeal Court and Court of Queen’s Bench, which both revealed that all their judges have had all their shots — no mandate needed.

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