Physician town hall warns Saskatchewan ICUs approaching red zone

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan ICUs approaching red zone' Saskatchewan ICUs approaching red zone
WATCH: Doctors are sounding the alarm on the dire COVID-19 situation Saskatchewan hospitals are heading towards. – Apr 23, 2021

An alarming presentation on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in the province was shared during a physician town hall Thursday night.

One of the most jarring slides says increased hospitalizations and deaths are expected within the next two to four weeks.

The same slide goes on to indicate there have been more hospitalizations so far in 2021 than all of 2020.

NDP Opposition leader Ryan Meili, a physician himself, is calling on the government to act before it’s too late.

“Hundreds of people have died, many more will and this government has a chance to act now to prevent the worst of it,” Meili said during a scrum at the legislature on Friday.

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“We’re too late in Regina, we’ve already overwhelmed our ICUs,” he added.

“(If) we allow that to happen in Saskatoon and the rest of the province, we’re going to see doctors put in the position of having to decide who lives and who dies,” Meili said.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) says the province is currently in “the yellow zone”, where some triaging is required, but numbers are approaching the red zone, where doctors will need to decide who gets ICU resources and who doesn’t.

Meili says there’s no excuse for the government for not sharing this information with the public.

“There’s no reason it only needs to be for doctors, there’s no reason they’re getting it and the public is getting a totally different message from the premier, except for one thing…and there’s one difference and that’s politics,” he said.

Meili goes on to accuse the government of not sharing this information because he believes the premier is more concerned with maintaining the perception that “everything is under control.”

Read more: COVID-19 patient record broken in Saskatchewan ICUs

When pressed about why this information hasn’t been shared, Saskatchewan Health Minister Paul Merriman says the physician town hall is a process he’s simply not a part of.

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“The presentation is done directly from the Saskatchewan Health Authority to the doctors, I’m not involved in those presentations and I appreciate the work that they’re doing and again they’re talking about what is happening right now and what could be happening in the future,” Merriman said.

He goes on to say that the government is “absolutely listening to the doctors.”

“They’re informing my officials and I’m meeting with them on a regular basis to be able to find out what it is we can do to continually adapt our services to be able to meet the needs,” Merriman added.

The minister also says the government is focusing on strongly encouraging residents to get their vaccine in order to curtail the spread.

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