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Elective procedures to slow-down as SHA raises COVID surge management

As of Friday September 17, there are five available ICU beds across Saskatchewan, according to the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s Chief Medical Officer.

Dr. Susan Shaw, in making the observation, noted that the SHA is moving to the next phase of surge management, but hoping that there is not a sudden crisis situation.

“So if something such as Humboldt were to happen again, and I hope it never does, but if we had something like that, where we had 16, 17, 18 people needing an intensive care unit bed in a hurry; I worry.”

The SHA officials are taking the steps to manage what they term the rapidly escalating COVID pressures on Saskatchewan’s hospitals as they move to the next level of their surge management protocol.

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The SHA says patients will see a slowdown in elective procedures starting next week as staff are moved to more urgent areas.

The move lays down new surge targets for Saskatchewan ICU’s and hospital capacity:

  • Surge from a baseline of 79 ICU beds up to 175 (previous estimates were that they’d need 130) to accommodate a new projection of 125 COVID ICU patients (previously 80), and to maintain capacity for up to 50 non-COVID ICU patients;
  • Flex up hospital capacity across the province to care for a total of 350 COVID non-ICU patients (previously 255).
  • Support the deployment of staff to support the case investigation requirements for up to 750 new lab confirmed positive cases per day
  • Continue efforts to meet testing targets for demand, aiming for no longer than 24 hours wait for testing within a test center or a wait of no more than 90 minutes within a drive-thru.

CEO Scott Livingstone noted that the load on hospitals is a direct result of the ongoing pandemic of the unvaccinated. However, he maintains that people should not stay away from hospital if they have an urgent need. He detailed some of the procedures that will be impacted.

“We are also using this process to support the deployment of staff to our testing and immunization areas. This will mean a reduction of in patient surgeries and SHA elective procedures performed in inpatient and outpatient areas, including pediatrics, in order to create staff capacity and to support COVID care.”

Livingstone expressed his gratitude to frontline staff who continue to rise to the challenges and called on residents to assist the medical fraternity as they build capacity to tackle the surging COVID case counts.

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