Manitoba Reactivates Formal Unified Incident Command Structure

497
Winnipeg Manitoba

WINNIPEG – Surging COVID-19 case numbers in Manitoba have spurred the government to take action.

As cases increase and demands on the health system are expected to increase, the health system has reactivated its formal unified incident command structure and is expanding the government response to ensure co-ordinated, comprehensive planning and actions to address the COVID-19 pandemic in Manitoba, Premier Brian Pallister announced today.

“The surge in positive COVID-19 cases is concerning for all of us, and we are doing everything we can to help halt the spread of this virus and protect our most vulnerable Manitobans,” said Pallister. “Reactivating the unified incident command structure and strengthening the government response will help provide clear direction and ensure co-ordinated efforts are put in place to address the situation.”

Manitoba’s health system has been working in an integrated way throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with provincial guidance and protocols being developed and implemented across all health regions and settings. The unified incident command structure formalizes decision-making as health regions work together to identify capacity and to implement strategies to meet increased demands. It also sets out internal structures that ensure co-ordination between the health system and the province’s public health structures.

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer, and Lanette Siragusa, provincial lead of health system integration and quality, and chief nursing officer for Shared Health, co-command the health incident command response.

“The incident command structure allows us to more strongly connect public health and the acute health care system, which makes planning easier and faster,” said Roussin.

While the unified health incident command system stood up on Friday, preparation and planning for the health system’s response have been underway since February 2020.

“Working together closely in this structured way allows us to enhance the planning process and expedite decisions to respond quickly to emerging issues,” said Siragusa.

In addition to the health incident command structure, Manitoba has enhanced the government response to the pandemic with more frequent meetings at all levels of government including daily meetings of ministers, deputy ministers, and government staff. In addition, staff will be seconded from across the government to support the central co-ordination of the government’s response.