Current Problems

Health (18-24)

Systemic Racism

May 19, 2021

Southern Chiefs Organization – 45% of ICU patients in Manitoba are First Nation people despite representing only 10 per cent of the total population. Manitoba is now the worst COVID-19 hotspot in North America.

“I am deeply concerned about the health and well-being of the people I represent if these trends continued,” stated Grand Chief Daniels. “Our people have been disproportionately impacted throughout this pandemic and Pallister’s continued failed leadership means even more lives will be lost, especially First Nation lives. Main issues:

  1. 1chronic staffing shortages, with senior level nurses the most likely to leave as they face long hours and burnout, largely due to the failure of the province to gain control of COVID-19 cases at the beginning of the second and third waves of the pandemic.
  2. Unaddressed outcomes that resulted from the closing of several emergency rooms in 2019, including at Concordia, Seven Oaks, and Victoria Hospitals. This loss of emergency care has had harmful effects on communities that have never been addressed. In November of 2020, the province doubled down on this failed policy and closed emergency services at Grandview Health Centre, resulting in many local residents holding a rally in protest of the decision.
  3. SCO is calling on the province to pay heed to the latest epidemiology and modelling and to do everything it possibly can to curb this latest surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, especially with the marked increase in variants of concern, which are more contagious and deadly.

Closing Thought

On Dec. 19, 2020 Manitoba First Nations represented 47% of all ICU patients. Six months later that number sits at 45%. What has Brian Pallister’s government done to prepare for COVID-19 especially since – after the Inuit – Manitoba First Nations were the hardest hit during the H1N1 epidemic of 2009.

See also “Perspective” article: “is Premier Brian Pallister of Manitoba a racist, an entitled colonial brat or both?”