According to CBC News, the Manitoba government has asked junior crown attorneys, judicial assistance staff, and students to agree to be reassigned to the contact tracing.
Sources say staff have been asked to volunteer to help with the province’s pandemic response, but details of what roles judicial staff will play are not entirely clear.
A source told CBC that the redeployment will focus on contact tracing investigations and the seconding will last until at least January.
The province would not say how many new employees will be hired, when the posting will begin, and whether the employees are conducting case investigations, contact notifications, or follow-up action.
A judicial spokesman said the provincial departments had been asked if they had employees who could be newly appointed.
“When departments can evaluate their work priorities and recruit staff, they will be added to the team working on the response and filling appropriate roles. This is part of a government-wide response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the spokesman wrote in an email Mail.
The move comes as the Winnipeg COVID-19 case investigations continue to lag days behind positive test results, contrary to the Prime Minister’s claim that Manitoba has eliminated delays in contact tracing.
Nurse asks why she can’t help
And it’s a surprise to Wendy Graham, a retired licensed practical nurse who recently applied to be a contact tracer.
Graham still has her license and was working in a nursing home in Winkler earlier this year.
She said when she applied for a contact tracing job on Shared Health’s website, her application wasn’t accepted because her license expires in late November.
“I was just frustrated because it seemed ridiculous. It made no logical sense, if you’re this behind contact tracing, why wouldn’t you open that up to someone who wants to apply for it?” Said Graham in a phone interview from Miami, man .
“I hear about it on the news every night, but you won’t let me apply for it. Ridiculous, it’s just another illogical thing.”
The tracing should be done within 24 hours: doc
Zain Chagla, an infectious disease doctor in Hamilton, Ontario, said contact tracing exams should begin within 24 hours of receiving a positive test result – not the four-day delay CBC reported Monday.
“If I’m positive, I’ll be tested for my symptoms for a few days, or I’ve probably infected some people by now. I get a result and four days later my contacts know that they’re likely to be positive and peeling off.” And again, we have already missed a potential opportunity to step in and quarantine people, “he said.
Chagla applauded the government for dedicating more resources to contact tracing, but said these could not be short-term deployments.
Dr. Zain Chagla said that many countries that had fewer restrictions than Canada did better contact tracing. (Craig Chivers / CBC)
“When you open up again, you need those contact tracers to make sure (when) things get out of hand again and you can navigate and deal with things very quickly.”
The province announced in the past few days that it will improve its contact tracing skills.
The Canadian Red Cross has been called in to help with the COVID-19 case investigation, and Health Secretary Cameron Friesen said 134 new hires had been added earlier this week, while Statistics Canada is expected to have 200 more working in the next few weeks.
The extra help comes as Manitoba remains the worst per capita province when it comes to new cases of the virus.