Sask. moves into next phase of COVID-19 surge plan

REGINA —
The Saskatchewan Health Authority announced it will launch the next phase of its COVID-19 surge plan, in order to manage the anticipate surge in patients over the next few weeks.

Following the announcement of 259 new cases on Thursday, the province said recent high case numbers contributed to the choice to activate the next phase of the surge plan.

The next phase includes a slow-down of some health services to manage the redeployment of around 600 full time staff.

The surge plan will offer space for 64 COVID-19 patients who require intensive care by mid-December.

“This means creating capacity to meet demand that is equivalent to 28 per cent more ICU beds than currently exist right now in Saskatoon and Regina combined,” the province said in a news release,.

The plan will also offer space for 250 patients who require inpatient care by mid-December.

“This is approximately equivalent to the capacity of the Cypress Regional Hospital in Swift Current and the Prince Albert Victoria Hospital combined,” the province said.

In addition to more space for patients, the surge plan also offers contact tracing services for 560 average cases daily.

SERVICES IMPACTED

In the coming days services with be affected, depending on plans and needs, in various locations.

“Surges of this scale and on this timeline necessitate service slow downs to enable redeployment of staff, otherwise more people will die from COVID-19 because we can’t get them the help they need and we can’t get out in front of the virus,” SHA CEO Scott Livingstone said. “We acknowledge that this will result in some Saskatchewan residents experiencing localized service slow downs in pockets across the province, that is why we are committed to making these efforts as time-limited and targeted as possible.”

The following services will be impacted:

  • Some primary health service
  • Election surgeries in urban centers
  • Endoscopy, cystoscopy procedures
  • Women and children’s programming
  • Diagnostics
  • Therapies
  • Ambulatory care
  • Registration resources
  • Environmental, food and nutrition services
  • Rehab service
  • Home care

The SHA says the scale of service slow-downs depends on location and type of service. Reducing service volume to enable the redistribution of staff will be happen in most cases. The SHA said in limited scenarios, services may be paused.

“These are highly localized programs like dental programs, therapeutic and rehabilitation programs and active living programs,” the province said.

Click here to view service alerts, where the SHA will provide updates of reduced of paused service.

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