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Manitoba Doctors See Drop in Patients Since COVID-19: Survey

April 20, 2020 7:01 AM | News


WINNIPEG — Manitoba doctors want to ensure the public they’re open to treating patients amid the COVID-19 pandemic and people shouldn’t put their health on hold.

Since the novel coronavirus outbreak, physicians have seen a drop in patients seeking care for their medical needs.

“A lot of people think because of COVID-19, doctors are too busy to help with other medical concerns,” said Dr. Fourie Smith, a Winnipeg-based family physician and president of Doctors Manitoba.

“That’s not the case. Doctors are not only available, they’re ready to help, in new ways.”


Many doctors are available by phone or video appointments. If an in-person visit is required, clinics are taking public health precautions to screen patients, disinfect more frequently and apply social distancing advice in common spaces like waiting rooms.

A recent survey found more than 700 physicians reported a concerning drop in patients seeking care. Many doctors found patients are sometimes taking the “stay at home” advice in stride and choosing not to seek care when it’s needed, or they were not aware doctors were still providing care for medical issues other than emergencies or COVID-19.

“Most importantly, your doctor can help you decide if you should seek care now, or wait,” added Dr. Smith.

“The best thing you can do is call your doctor. Don’t put your health on hold.”