The provincial government is asking the federal government for help staffing overwhelmed intensive care units in Manitoba.

This weekend two Manitoba ministers wrote to the federal government's Minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair asking for help staffing more intensive care beds.

A spokesperson for Health and Seniors Care says Health and Seniors Care Minister Audrey Gordon and Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler sent a request for nurses due to the, "continued pressure of the fourth wave and continuing pressures in our major acute care facilities and ICUs."

They are requesting help to add 15 to 30 more intensive care nurses. The nurses would stay in Manitoba for six weeks.

"Assistance from the federal government would increase ICU capacity to address continued pressure in major acute care facilities due to the effects of COVID-19 while allowing our surgical slates to remain open."

Last week, Doctors Manitoba urged the province for assistance as hospitals swell with COVID-19 patients, causing massive backlogs in surgeries and diagnostic tests. This includes intensive care, which is seeing COVID-19 patients spill over into other ICUs due to lack of space.

On Wednesday, it was announced that more surgeries on top of the 152,000 case backlog would be postponed, citing a staffing shortage as one of the drivers, including 46 ICU nurses leaving.

"Doctors Manitoba is deeply concerned about our health system's ability to maintain patient care through the winter months. Any and all options should be on the table now to ensure physicians can provide patients with the care they need without delay," Doctors Manitoba tweets Monday.

In a later press conference, it was shared that out-of-province care was one of the ways the government was looking to get people the care they needed, which included elderly patients being transported to other hospitals far from home. The minister announced in the press conference that they are offering new nursing graduates jobs.

As of Monday morning, there are 34 COVID-19 patients in intensive care.