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Province expects to transfer 2-4 ICU patients a day out of Saskatchewan next week

The focus is on transferring the patients dealing with COVID-19 out of province
unoccupied ambulance
Depending on a number of factors, two to four ICU patients a day are expected to be transferred to Ontario over the next week.

REGINA — More intensive care unit patients are expected to be transferred out of Saskatchewan to Ontario over the next week.

“We are anticipating that the number of transfers will increase early next week to roughly two to four patients per day for the next several days to further reduce the strain on the healthcare system,” said Marlo Pritchard, the president of the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency, on a media conference call on Oct. 22.

So far, six ICU patients have been transferred to Ontario, while three more are expected to be transferred over the weekend. The focus is on transferring the patients dealing with COVID-19.

Prichard said the transfers are contingent on several factors: ICU capacity, clinical assessment, identification of appropriate patients, severe weather, logistics around the airplanes and moving patients safely, and other unforeseen events.

The agency president said the province would be announcing the number of confirmed ICU patients being transferred to other provinces.

As of 6 a.m. on Oct. 18, there are 309 in the hospital due to COVID-19. Of those, 80 are in the ICU. 

Combined with 37 non-COVID ICU patients, there are 117 people in ICUs across the province, a number that Derek Miller, the chief of emergency operations for the Saskatchewan Health Authority, said is just under 150 per cent of the province’s baseline ICU capacity.

Province in talks with feds

Prichard said Saskatchewan and the federal government are in talks about getting federal assistance.

“We expect to continue those discussions and planning over the weekend and good progress has and continues to be made,” he said. “I expect to have more information soon about having boots on the ground at some point next week.”


Testing kits

A list of locations for the free rapid antigen self test kits is being posted on the province’s COVID-19 website.

As of Oct. 11, kits have arrived in Saskatoon, Regina, Prince Albert, Weyburn, Swift Current, Lloydminster, Meadow Lake, Melville, Warman and Moose Jaw.

Other locations in the province, such as the Battlefords, Humboldt and Melfort, report they haven’t received kits yet.

“You have to appreciate there is a fair amount of logistics that goes out in regards to identifying those locations that are willing to voluntarily deploy those rapid test kits,” Prichard said.


SHA employees will pay part of test costs

Saskatchewan Health Authority employees that do not have proof of vaccination will have to pay some of the cost of getting a test.

“Individual staff members will be required to pay for entry into the program in order to offset the cost of the tests and other administrative costs associated with the overall program,” Miller said.

The cost for the employee is $225 per month.

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