Saskatchewan redeploying 600 health-care staff to support COVID-19 surge

As COVID-19 continues to surge across the province and intensive care units remain full, the Saskatchewan Health Authority is moving forward with a slowdown of its services.

The health authority says this is required in order to redeploy 600 full-time staff to respond to the coronavirus in Saskatchewan.

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Services that will be affected include primary health care, elective surgeries in urban centres, endoscopy/cystoscopy procedures, women and children programming, diagnostics, therapies, ambulatory care, registration resources, rehab services, home care and environmental services as well as food nutrition services.

The services will still be available, but reduced to allow staff to respond to the pandemic.

With the rise in cases comes a rise in hospitalizations, and the SHA says it needs to keep pace with the projected demand.

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By mid-December, the number of ICU beds will increase by 28 per cent in the province, which will create space for an additional 64 COVID-19 patients.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Saskatchewan health official outlines service reductions due to staff redeployment' Coronavirus: Saskatchewan health official outlines service reductions due to staff redeployment

Coronavirus: Saskatchewan health official outlines service reductions due to staff redeployment

The health authority is also creating space for 250 COVID patients by mid-December.

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This is the equivalent to the capacity of the Cypress Regional Hospital in Swift Current and the Prince Albert Victoria Hospital combined.

The SHA says it also needs to increase the capacity for contact tracing and its labour pool to increase its response to outbreaks.

“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 in a press release.

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“We acknowledge that this will result in some Saskatchewan residents experiencing localized service slowdowns in pockets across the province, that is why we are committed to making these efforts as time-limited and targeted as possible.”

Service slowdowns will vary depending on the location and local plans and needs.

This is a developing story. Check back often for updates.

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Coronavirus: Saskatchewan’s top doctor says holidays are time to get COVID-19 numbers down, cautions rebound possible

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