Initial numbers “surprising” for Pine Falls testing site: Van Denakker

By Don Norman

On Friday, Interlake-Eastern CEO Ron Van Denakker spoke to media about the state of the pandemic with respect to the pandemic.

The conference call was at 4:00 p.m., just after the Pine Falls testing site had closed down after it’s first day and he said he was surprised by the large numbers that went through the screening process at the Powerview School location. However, he wouldn’t elaborate on the numbers, saying that Manitoba Health is responsible for releasing that type of information.

He outlined the strategy the Health Authority will be using to deal with COVID-19 cases. Selkrik Hospitial will have beds to treat patients with the virus, but only for patients requiring medicinal treatments. “We are working to increase our medicine beds, but if they require intensive care, they will be sent to Winnipeg,” said Van Denakker . The two ventilator that IERHA owned have been sent to Winnipeg (but they will be returned once this is over).

None of the other health faciilies in the region (including the Pine Falls and Pinawa Hospitals) will have beds set aside for virus patients, but that won’t mean it’s smooth sailing for these facilities. VanDennaker said he expects that health care workers may very well come into contact with patients with the virus, and with any exposure, there’s risk. So, they could a staffing crunch if many must take time off.

However, Van Denakker said he feels comfortable with the preparations that the IERHA have taken. “We can cope,” he said. “But if we get an onslaught, we will absolutely face challenges.”

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