Manitoba Ahead Of Schedule With The Vaccination Situation

The province has announced that more than 50 percent of the province’s eligible population has had two COVID-19 vaccine doses, and nearly 75 percent of Manitobans have had one dose.

“Looking at other jurisdictions that have had high vaccine rates, we can see that perhaps this pandemic’s days are numbered,” Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said.

First dose vaccinations have slowed in recent weeks, the proportion of Manitobans who are fully vaccinated has almost doubled in two weeks.

The province topped its July 1 immunization targets a couple of weeks ahead of schedule. The next benchmark is for August Long Weekend, which is 50 percent fully vaccinated and 75 percent with one dose.

Reopenings could expand further if 80 percent of those eligible have received one dose and 75 percent have received two by Labour Day.

Premier Brian Pallister has previously said if Manitoba hits targets ahead of schedule that the province would consider loosening restrictions sooner than planned.

Meanwhile, Manitoba reported 65 new cases of COVID-19 and another death on Monday.

There were 35 cases in the Winnipeg health region, 11 in the Prairie Mountain Health region, nine in the Interlake-Eastern health region, and five each in the Northern and Southern health regions on Monday.

 

Second shots available for all Manitobans as of Friday

All Manitobans will be able to get the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and it will also be easier to get shots.

Manitoba is extending hours at some vaccination sites as it expects to dole out more than 200,000 doses during the week of June 28th.

Anyone who has received their first shot is eligible for a second dose as of 11:45 a.m. on Friday if there are at least 28 days between the shots. 

The 217,000 doses the province plans to administer next week are much more than the 180,798 this week and 106,028 last week.

Clinics and pharmacies are also expected to get much more as they are expected to receive 45,688 of the doses next week, a sevenfold increase from last week when they received 6,000 doses.

Meanwhile, the province recorded 106 new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, along with announcing that there were two deaths from the illness.

Most of Thursday’s new cases are in the Winnipeg health region, which reported 64 new infections.

The rest are split between the Southern Health region, with 18, the Northern Health Region, with 14, the Interlake-Eastern health region, with nine, and the Prairie Mountain Health region, with one.

First Step Of Manitoba’s Reopening Plan

Starting on Saturday, Manitoba will be moving ahead with the first milestone of its ‘4-3-2 One Great Summer’ Reopening Path.

Starting on June 26th, many businesses and facilities will be open to 25 percent capacity.

Manitobans who are fully immunized (two vaccine doses plus two weeks from the time of their second dose) will now benefit from the following exemptions:
·    visit fully immunized loved ones in personal care homes or hospitals;
·    participate in social or communal activities if you are a resident of a personal care home or congregate living facility;
·    travel domestically for essential and non-essential purposes outside of Manitoba without the requirement to self-isolate on their return; and,
·    dine indoors at restaurants and bars with other fully immunized friends and family from outside your household.

 

Large-scale, outdoor professional sports or performing arts events may also allow fully immunized Manitobans to attend, subject to approval by Manitoba Public Health.

Manitobans achieved and surpassed the first key vaccination benchmarks set out with over 71 percent of eligible Manitobans at least partially immunized and more than 27 percent having received both doses.

Additional benefits for fully immunized Manitobans will be announced in July, including increasing capacity for fully immunized people at weddings, funerals, faith-based and other gatherings, based on continued vaccination rate increases and improvements in the province’s overall COVID-19 situation.

Other changes include:

  •  outdoor gathering sizes on private property to double to 10 persons, and to allow outdoor visitors to briefly access homes for essential activities (e.g. to use a washroom);
    ·    public outdoor gathering sizes to increase to 25 persons;
    ·    personal service businesses (hair and nail salons, estheticians, barbers, etc.) to reopen at 50 percent capacity, on an appointment basis only;
    ·    restaurants and bars to reopen at 25 percent capacity for indoors and 50 percent for outdoor dining. For indoor dining, patrons seated together must be from the same household unless all patrons at the table are fully immunized. Patrons who are fully immunized and from different households may dine together. For outdoor dining, tables are limited to a maximum of 8 patrons and can be from different households regardless of immunization status;
    ·    indoor faith-based services and organized community gatherings (e.g. pow wows, sundance ceremonies) to resume at 25 percent capacity to a limit of 25 persons with masks worn at all times;
    ·    swimming and wading pools, both indoor and outdoor, may reopen at 25 percent capacity;
    ·    gyms and fitness facilities may reopen for individual and group fitness classes at 25 percent capacity with three metres distance maintained between patrons; and;
    ·    summer day camps may reopen to a maximum of 20 participants in groups.

Over a quarter of Manitobans over the age of 12 are Vaccinated

The first step in the Manitoba vaccination goal is now complete.

The province’s vaccination dashboard says that more than 25% of Manitobans 12 and older are fully vaccinated as of Monday afternoon. As well, more than 70% have one dose.

The goal was key in the government’s plan to ease some COVID-19 restrictions by July 1st.

Under the plan, if at least 70 percent of all Manitobans age 12 and older have received their first vaccine dose and 25 percent have received their second dose by Canada Day, most businesses, services, and facilities can open at 25 percent capacity or greater levels.

It was said earlier this month, that if those targets are met sooner, then the province could open sooner.

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, said more details on that can be expected Wednesday.

Meanwhile in our neighbouring province, Saskatchewan, the provincial government has said it will lift all public health measures by July 11th. That includes mandatory masks and gathering size limits, even though the province hasn’t reached its final COVID-19 vaccination target.

Roussin said Manitoba is also taking the emergence of the delta variant into account in its reopening plans. That strain of the coronavirus is more contagious and less sensitive to one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine than other variants.

 

 

According to doctors in Manitoba, the backlog in surgical and diagnostic procedures has grown to 110,000 because of COVID-19.

According to a report from Doctors Manitoba, the backlog includes more than 39,000 surgeries, 44,000 diagnostic imaging tests and 32,000 other procedures, such as mammograms and endoscopies.

Because of the pandemic, hospital staff has been redeployed and some medical procedures were postponed to free up capacity.

As of this moment there are 142 Manitoba patients in intensive care units, including 122 patients in local ICUs receiving both COVID and non-COVID care, as well as 20 COVID patients receiving care in other provinces.

The normal pre-pandemic ICU capacity in Manitoba was 72.

The Doctors say they have decreased referrals for surgery by 11 per cent during the pandemic.

Among the most concerning impacts are delays of cardiac and cancer surgeries with at least two patients having died waiting for heart surgery, according to a report from Doctors Manitoba.

The Canadian Institute of Health Information has said that during the first wave of the pandemic, cardiac surgeries decreased by 16 per cent and cancer surgeries decreased by nine per cent.

Wait times for all procedures have also more than doubled on average. 

 

Walk-Ins Will Be Available For Those Seeking Second Jab

Manitoba will be ramping up the vaccinations next week with more appointments and walk-ins.

Walk-in options at most supersites will begin as well next week.

Doctor’s offices and pharmacies are also going to get about 30,000 doses this week and another 30,000 next week. 

The province also expanded eligibility for second dose appointments allowing anyone who got a shot on or before May 14th can now book a second.

Those who got their first dose on or before May 18th will be able to book as of 11:45 a.m. Thursday.

Anticipated delivery of over 300,000 Moderna doses will help the province expand walk-in options, which are prioritized for first doses but available to people who want a second as well.

Eligible Manitobans who got Pfizer or AstraZeneca as their first shot can take advantage of the walk-in options and get Moderna for their second shot.

Starting on Sunday, the supersites in Brandon, Dauphin and Morden will begin accepting walk-ins, as will the Leila Avenue supersite in Winnipeg.

The goal is to open second dose eligibility by the end of next week to all Manitobans age 12 and up who have had sufficient time pass since their first dose.

 

70% and 25% are The Magic Numbers For Manitoba’s Reopening Plan

 

Manitoba has released its reopening plan for this summer. Reopening is tied to holidays and immunization targets.

 

If more than 70 percent of all Manitobans age 12 and older have received their first vaccine dose and over 25 percent have received their second dose by Canada Day, businesses, services, and facilities can open at 25 percent capacity or greater levels.

 

As of Thursday, 68 percent had those first shots while the second-dose rate was at 14.2 percent.

 

For August Long Weekend, if 75 percent or more have received a first dose and over 50 percent have received a second dose, the capacity increases to 50 percent.

 

If the mark of 80 percent with one dose and 75 percent with two doses is met by Labour Day, the reopening levels will increase, though some limits will remain.

 

There is also no information about how or whether pandemic indicators, such as test positivity rates, case counts, ICU admissions or hospital capacity, factor into the reopening.

 

The government says that it’s up to Manitobans for how much the province will reopen, saying that the public must follow public health orders and get vaccinated.

 

Manitoba will be setting aside $1 million for grants of up to $20,000 that groups can use to reach out to people hesitant about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

The grants will be available to cultural, arts, education, sports, religious, community and business organizations that can prove they can reach vaccine-hesitant people.

Provincial research has found out that the government is beginning to exhaust its ability to reach certain groups.

“We know, from our research and from the clinical leaders in our province, that there are thousands of Manitobans who are open to getting a vaccine but have yet to get one,” said Premier Brian Pallister.

“They need support in that decision. They need support from you. They need support from people they know. They need support from people they trust.”

The application process for the grants will open soon but first, the government wants to provide information sessions to interested organizations to explain what is expected. Registration for those sessions will begin right away at protectmb.ca.

The outreach work by the organizations will be done from June to September.

Research by the province suggests there are very few anti-vaccine people in Manitoba — about two percent of the population. The rest are vaccine-hesitant for various reasons, be it language barriers, cultural or religious concerns or wanting to know more about the science, or they’re just unable to get to a vaccine site.

One study, by Prairie Research, found 87 percent of respondents were keen to be vaccinated or are already, while five percent were not in a rush, another five percent were unsure if they would get a vaccine, and four percent stated they would not.

Second Doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford Vaccine Available 

Anyone that received a first dose of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine will be able to receive a second dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, says the Manitoba Government.

The minimum time that must pass before people who got AstraZeneca can get a second dose is 28 days. For those that aren’t in a higher risk category, eight weeks is recommended.

Announced on Monday, anyone who received the first dose of any COVID-19 vaccine on or before April 8 can book a second-dose appointment. Those who got their first shot on or before April 13 will be able to book a second-dose appointment on Tuesday at 11:45 a.m.

The announcement that different vaccines could be mixed, was waiting for the results of a U.K. study.

Dr. Joss Reimer, the medical lead for Manitoba’s vaccine implementation task force, says a Spanish study shows that people who received a second dose of an mRNA vaccine [such as Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech] after AstraZeneca had a good immune response.

All Indigenous people in Manitoba and those with specific health conditions are also eligible to book a second dose if they meet the minimum time interval between doses.

Manitoba is the second province in Canada to recommend an mRNA vaccine for the second dose.

Select Segment of Manitobans Eligible for Second Jab

The province has expanded eligibility for the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to anyone who received the first dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines on or before March 29.

Manitobans can book an appointment on the province’s website or by calling 1-844-626-8222.

Second dose appointments for the mRNA-based Pfizer and Moderna vaccines opened back on Friday to those with select health conditions. 

Second dose appointments also opened to Indigenous Manitobans on Monday.

Second dose appointments will continue to be opened based on when individuals received their first shot.

Manitoba continues to recommend those who have received one dose of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, to wait at least 12 weeks before getting their second dose. The first Manitobans who got the AstraZeneca vaccine in March will hit the 12-week mark next week.

Some can get their second AstraZeneca dose prior to that 12-week period, provided a pharmacist or doctor explains the clinical benefits and risks.

May Long weekend – restrictions to continue

Current public health orders that were put in place for the May long weekend will remain to keep Manitobans close to home and reduce transmission rates, says the Manitoba Government.

The restrictions will remain in effect for the remainder of the week to help protect the health-care system and to give officials additional time to monitor case and patient numbers was announced by Premier Brian Pallister and Dr. Brent Roussin.

All current public health orders will remain in effect until Saturday, May 29 at 12:01 a.m. and include.
 
Those restrictions include not permitting indoor public gatherings and not allowing visitors on private property, except in certain circumstances.


Roussin said that vaccination plays a significant role in reducing transmission of the virus but also the toll on the health-care system.
 
More than 70 per cent of current hospitalized patients are unvaccinated.
 
“For all Manitobans over the age of 12, I urge to book your vaccine appointment right now and your second-dose appointment if you are eligible,” said Roussin. “Getting vaccinated and following the public health orders are necessary in order to bend our COVID curve back down and eventually get back to doing some of the activities that Manitobans miss right now.”

 

More public health orders are set to come into effect on Saturday to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

 

Outdoor gatherings with anyone from outside a household are no longer allowed. That includes all recreation spaces including playgrounds, golf courses, parks and sports fields.

 

Also, only one person per household will be allowed to enter a business, with some exceptions, such as a single parent with children, or someone who requires a caregiver.

 

“These additional measures are necessary right now,” said Health and Seniors Care Minister Heather Stefanson. “I’m asking all Manitobans to follow the orders, as these additional measures are necessary to slow the spread of this virus, and protect our communities and our healthcare system.”

 

Dr. Brent Roussin said that with second-dose appointment bookings beginning this week, the province’s vaccine rollout is headed in the right direction. He said though that Manitobans must continue to do everything they can to reduce transmission of the virus.

 

“We all need to follow these orders, stay home as much as possible, reduce our number of contacts and wear masks when we are around others from outside your household,” said Roussin. “Above all, book your appointment for a vaccine right away and your second dose as soon as you are eligible.”

 

The new changes to public health orders will be in place until 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, May 26.

 

Starting on Friday, some Manitobans will be able to get second-dose appointments for the COVID-19 vaccines.

The newly opened appointments will be reserved for priority groups with certain health conditions or compromised immune systems who have already received the first dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.

Those that got the AstraZeneca-Oxford jab will have to wait a little longer though.

There’s evidence that suggests waiting at least three months for getting a second shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine maximizes immunity protection.

A full list of priority conditions is available on the province’s website.

The province estimates that there are about 26,000 Manitobans in this category who have already received first doses.

The next wave of second-dose appointments will be allocated to the first people who got vaccinated without getting a second shot.

Manitoba will also soon begin posting vaccine uptake rates online with breakdowns by the regional health authority, sex, and first and second doses.

Those eligible for vaccination can visit the province’s website to book an appointment or call 1-844-626-8222.

 

City of Brandon Property Taxes will be due on June 30th at 5:00 pm.

Property taxes are in the process of being mailed out to property owners. Included with the mailouts is information regarding the City of Brandon’s 2021 budget, municipal property tax details, and Manitoba Government’s Education Property Tax Rebate.  

If you own property within city limits and do not receive a tax bill by June 1st, 2021, please contact the Finance Department at 204-729-2228 or email taxes@brandon.ca.

There will be several payment options available for property owners, including online and electronic, tax installment plan and in-person mail.

A full list of payment options can be found at brandon.ca/payment-options 

If you are mailing your property tax payment, please allow enough days in order for the payment to get to where it needs to go to meet the June 30th deadline.  

Penalties on unpaid 2021 taxes will accrue at a rate of 1.25% per month, beginning July 1, 2021. 

 

COVID Vaccine now available for people aged 12 – 17

To date 625,404 first and second doses of vaccine have been delivered in Manitoba. That number is about to increase once again.

Manitobans aged 12 and older can start to book to get their COVID-19 vaccines.

Provincial health officials said young people between the ages of 12 and 17 can now book their Pfizer vaccine appointment.

The Pfizer vaccine is generally available at supersites and urban Indigenous clinics throughout the province.

Appointments for a dose can be made by young people aged 12 and older or their parent, guardian, or caregiver.

Those aged 12 to 15 will have a consent form signed by a parent, guardian, or caregiver, before getting their shot, but those without a signed form can still get their dose after going through an informed consent process with a clinical lead at the vaccine clinic.

Those aged 16 and 17 can sign their own consent forms.

Vaccination appointments can be made by calling 1-844-626-8222 or a provincial website.

 

Manitoba is dropping the age of eligibility for a COVID-19 vaccine to 18 and older today (Wednesday, May 12, 2021).

The province lowered the age of eligibility for a COVID-19 vaccine to 24 and older on Tuesday, which was the fifth time it has been lowered in the last week and one day after dropping it to 30.

Public health officials said last week that they are planning to vaccinate 12- to 17-year-olds and they will likely become eligible by May 21.

To make an appointment at a supersite or pop-up clinic, use the province’s online booking portal or call 1-844-626-8222.

The reason for the quick pace of vaccinations in Manitoba is because shipments have increased over the past week as more supplies arrived.

Before there were delays in shipments of the Moderna vaccine which had previously caused a slowdown in the rollout.

More than 10,000 doses were administered in Manitoba on Monday. The province estimates it will administer 82,944 doses of vaccine between May 10 and 16.

As of Tuesday, 45.4 percent of adult Manitobans have received at least one dose of the vaccine. 

Health officials have said they plan to start making second-dose appointments for some people on May 22.

Vaccination Supersites Stocked Up As Eligibility Increases For Indigenous Adults 

Indigenous adults, including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people, are now eligible to get the coronavirus vaccine.

The added eligibility applies to vaccinations at supersites and pop-up clinics, which are stocked with either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

Meanwhile, the eligibility for the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine remains at 40 and up for all Manitobans, and 30 to 39 for people with certain health conditions.

Up until now, age eligibility for First Nations has been set at 20 years younger than the general population’s eligibility.

Dr. Marcia Anderson, the public health lead for the First Nations Pandemic Co-ordination Team says they have seen 50 to 60 percent of all COVID-19 admission to the intensive care units.

“We’re also seeing consistently higher numbers of off-reserve First Nations people than on-reserve people in hospitalizations and ICUs and, unfortunately, more fatal outcomes.”

As of Friday, there had been 114 deaths among First Nations people living off-reserve and 55 deaths of people living on reserve.

There are also 231 cases linked to more contagious coronavirus variants in First Nations people living off-reserve, compared to 45 on reserve.

As of April 29, 52,000 doses of vaccine had been administered to First Nations people in Manitoba.

Brandon’s East End Joins Growing List Of Areas Making Vaccine Available

Another neighbourhood in Brandon will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.

Today the province announced that the East End, including anything east of First Street, is now eligible for vaccination.

More neighbourhoods in Winnipeg and a large chunk of eastern Manitoba have also been prioritized for COVID-19 vaccinations, allowing tens of thousands more people aged 18 and up to book appointments for a shot.

Adult residents of Winnipeg’s Fort Garry area south of Bishop Grandin Boulevard are eligible for vaccinations.

More neighbourhoods include Tyndall Park and Meadows West.

In eastern Manitoba, Sagkeeng First Nation, Powerview-Pine Falls, Manigotagan and Bissett are all included.

All adults who live in these areas can book vaccination appointments, as can some adults who work with the public in these jurisdictions.

That list includes teachers, people who work at daycares, food-processing plant workers, some inspectors, and people who work gas stations, grocers, convenience stores and restaurants.

Meanwhile, the province announced 230 more cases of COVID-19 and 2 more deaths. 

 

 

 

COVID Vaccine Available for More Age Groups in Manitoba

 

The Province is expanding its COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to adults aged 18 and older in certain communities, including a spot in Brandon.

 

Downtown Brandon is one of many communities added to the eligibility list. Also added was Point Douglas North and Downtown West in Winnipeg. Before other communities that had vaccines available were Winnipeg’s Seven Oaks West, Downtown East, Point Douglas South and Inkster East communities.

 

The province plans on making more communities available in the coming week.

 

As the province has expanded eligibility to more priority communities, the general age of eligibility to get a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at one of the province’s supersites or temporary clinics has not changed since it was lowered a week ago to anyone 50 and older, and First Nations people 30 and up.

 

To date, 447,031 doses of vaccine have been administered, and the province expects to receive 2,340 doses of Pfizer and 22,100 doses of Moderna vaccine.

 

The province also released some data showing that vaccine uptake among eligible people has lagged in some communities in Winnipeg and southern Manitoba. Of note is some areas where uptake is below 20 percent. 

Good News For Manitoba Truckers Travelling To N.D.

Manitoban truckers will be offered free vaccines starting Wednesday when they travel to North Dakota.

This will be the first such program between a Canadian and American jurisdiction.

The Manitoba Trucking Association and the Province of Manitoba will identify eligible drivers and work with North Dakota to schedule vaccination appointments during truckers’ routine trips to the U.S. over the next six to eight weeks.

It’s expected to help with 2,000 to 4,000 Manitoba drivers.

The state will be providing the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines and, once it is approved again, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

U.S. health officials recently stopped the administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.

The vaccines will be administered by the North Dakota Department of Health nurses and other staff to administer the first and second doses of the vaccine to provide full immunization of truckers.

The state will then provide proof of immunization to those who are vaccinated and share records of immunization with Manitoba.

There will be no cost to the state or province.

More Manitobans Now Eligible To Get COVID-19 Vaccine

Vaccine eligibility has expanded to make doses available to police, firefighters and people living and working in certain high-risk communities, but it means younger age groups might have to wait longer.

“Our intent is to focus on where we see that high, high risk of transmission happening, particularly with the third wave, which does mean that our age decrease will be slower,” says Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the vaccine task force in Manitoba.

The province is still in the process of determining which specific geographic areas and which frontline workers in those areas will be eligible. Those details will be announced next Wednesday.

Those places will be determined by a team of doctors, nurses and epidemiologists, as well as whether more people should be eligible to receive the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine.

The province also lowered the age of eligibility to 57 and older for all Manitobans and 37 and older for First Nations people.

 

For the second time since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Fairview Personal Care Home in Brandon is under Code Red as an outbreak has been declared.

 

The last time an outbreak was declared at the Home was back in November when 21 residents and 8 staff were positive with COVID-19. This time around it’s a staff member. The age and sex of the staffer are unknown.

 

There are currently no COVID-19 positive residents and none of the residents are exhibiting any respiratory symptoms. Fairview staff continues to monitor all residents in the building closely out of an abundance of caution.

 

Fairview is the third place that has additional restrictions in the Prairie Mountain Health Region, with the Boissevain School going to online learning and an outbreak being declared at the Boissevain Health Centre.

 

Meanwhile, 135 new cases have been identified in the province, with five cases in the Prairie Mountain Health Region.

 

The province announced there were two additional deaths as well, with one person having the new B117 variant.

 

The province says the new variant is becoming the new dominant strain of COVID-19 in the province.

“I just want to be clear that we are in the beginnings of a third wave in Manitoba. So, your actions are critical right now.”

 

Those were the words from Dr. Joss Reimer as the province announced 179 new COVID-19 cases on Friday.

 

That is the highest single-day increase in Manitoba since January 24th. On that day, the province announced 222 cases.

 

Reimer continued to say, “If we can’t control the transmission of COVID-19, Manitobans may see more restrictions in the days ahead.”

 

Three more deaths linked to the illness were announced, including a man in his 20s from the Northern Health Region.

 

There were 37 newly identified cases of more contagious coronavirus variants, most of which are in the Winnipeg health region.

Thirty-three of the new variant cases are the B117 strain first seen in the United Kingdom. Of those, three of them were in the Prairie Mountain Health region.

Reimer says public health staff are watching Manitoba’s situation closely and analyzing the experiences of provinces already in their third waves to figure out how best to respond.

There’ll be just a few changes to the public health order in Manitoba.

Starting Friday at 12:01 a.m., the province will be allowing liquor cart sales on golf courses and the maximum number of people allowed to attend self-help meetings will increase to 25.

Otherwise, the rules that are in place will stay that way until April 30.

Chief Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, said there wasn’t much else officials could do.

“We really weren’t in a position to offer a broader reopening at this point because of our slowly increasing rates as well as the risks posed by the variants of concern,” said Roussin.

He explained that when the last orders were made in March, the province wasn’t expecting golf courses to open as early as they did.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, health officials announced 40 new COVID-19 variant cases.

Manitoba has had 339 variant cases.

 

The Manitoba government will be looking to phase out the education property tax, according to its latest budget.

The 2021-22 budget, which was released on Wednesday, says it will be cutting down the education tax for owners of residential and farm property by 50 percent over the next two years. It will be cut down 25 percent each year.

Owners for other types of property will be seeing a 10 percent cut.

The move comes sooner than expected, as the original promise by the Progressive Conservatives was to gradually eliminate school taxes from property tax bills, and would’ve taken 10 years. The government was supposed to eliminate the tax in 2023 after it balanced the budget in 2022. But balancing the budget was delayed because of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Rebate cheques are expected to be sent out as early as June.

Homeowners are expected to save $210 this year from the rebate and reductions to the existing property tax offsets.

Meanwhile, the province is planning to bring down the 2021-22 budget deficit by around $400 million and to be at $1.6 billion.