‘Our lives have forever been changed’: Premier marks one year of COVID-19 pandemic

WINNIPEG — As Manitoba approaches one year since its first COVID-19 case, Premier Brian Pallister is looking back on the hard lessons learned, the lives lost and how Manitobans have changed.

On Thursday, Pallister released a statement, noting it’s been one year since the World Health Organization declared a global public health emergency. He added that tomorrow, March 12, is one year since Manitoba announced its first presumptive positive case.

“Since that day, our lives have forever been changed, especially for the family and friends of the 908 Manitobans who tragically lost their battle to COVID-19,” he said.

“On this day, we reflect on the Manitobans we have lost and will miss; and also acknowledge the thousands of Manitobans we have saved and will treasure.

“As a government and as Manitobans, we have learned the hard lessons and we are not the same people we were last fall.” 

Pallister noted that Manitoba didn’t experience a significant first wave of COVID-19, with nearly 70 per cent of the province’s cases detected between Oct. 1 and Dec, 31, 2020. 

“As a government, we addressed the needs of our health-care system including workforce flow, securing personal protective equipment (PPE), and scaling up COVID-19 testing sites and contact tracing,” he said.

The premier noted the changes Manitobans have gone through, including working from home, embracing technology, and learning to stick to the fundamentals to save lives.

Pallister recognized that all Manitobans have made sacrifices to protect their loved ones and their community.

“Our number one priority in the face of this pandemic is to protect our most vulnerable Manitobans and ensure our health-care system is there for all Manitobans when they need it, now and well after this pandemic,” he said.

The premier said that though there is hope on the horizon with the COVID-19 vaccines, Manitobans still have a long way to go before we are all protected and that everyone must continue to follow public health advice.

Pallister expressed his gratitude to the leaders and members of Manitoba’s COVID-19 Response Team, Vaccine Implementation Task Force, the First Nations Pandemic Response Coordination Team, and every single Manitoban on the front lines.

“I am confident that in the years ahead, Manitobans will look back on this moment in our province’s history and they will be proud of their efforts. I know I am,” he said.

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