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SHA accelerates surge plans as hospitals face rising COVID pressure

Saskatchewan Health Authority officials say as of 11:30 a.m. Thursday September 23, there are 84 patients in ICU’s across Saskatchewan. Sixty of these are COVID-19 related. There are still 24 ICU beds available at this time.

In revealing the numbers officials continue efforts to shift resources from elective procedures including here in Lloydminster, as they build capacity towards maintaining 125 ICU beds and 350 acute beds for COVID patients.

Officials addressed the effect of the elective slowdown, which has put a halt to organ transplants and donations. They share the concerns of both doctors and patients as numerous procedures across the province are being rescheduled to tackle the COVID case surge.

SHA Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Susan Shaw says the slowdown is necessary as they have no other option but to deal with the large numbers of people who they need to care for in the days ahead.

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“The impact of that across the entire province is massive. Whether you have COVID or not, we are slowing down services that are going to impact you or somebody you know. Not because we want to, but we have no choice. We have people presenting with severe COVID, and without their care, we know that they would not be well. They would literally die.”

Officials remain concerned that demand will continue to build as they try to maintain hospital capacity across the province. Emergency Operations Centre Commander Derek Miller, in going with the surge strategy did not rule out  external provincial help.

“We have normal processes where we move patients out of province for example, that’s a normal way of moving patients to where they can get the care that they need. We know that is an option; a contingency. Our plan right now though, is to continue with the surge activation that is being mobilized as we speak, in order to meet the demand.”

Miller indicated they expect demand for COVID treatment services at hospitals to continue to increase, but are hopeful that public health orders will bend the curve and ease the pressure at hospitals.

Despite the shifting of resources, SHA officials continue to encourage that if people need to go to the hospital, then go to the hospital.

They maintain as well that residents who remain hesitant, should reconsider their decision and get the COVID-19 vaccine.

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