COVID-19: Saskatchewan opens its hospitals to ICU patients from Manitoba

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan ready to help Manitoba with COVID-19 ICU patients' Saskatchewan ready to help Manitoba with COVID-19 ICU patients
WATCH: As COVID-19 continues to strain ICU resources in Manitoba, Saskatchewan is ready to lend a hand – May 26, 2021

The Manitoba government transferred at least 18 COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) patients to Ontario last week to free up some of its hospital resources and is now turning to North Dakota and Saskatchewan for similar help.

One patient was expected to arrive in Saskatchewan Wednesday, the first from the bordering province. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said the province is in a position to help, having lowered its ICU and hospitalization rates.

“We’re fortunate at the moment with lower hospitalizations than what we have had, and fortunate to have some provincial capacity to offer our neighbours and fellow Canadians in Manitoba,” Moe said.

Read more: 2 more Manitoba ICU COVID-19 patients transferred to Ontario

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) said the patients won’t go to Saskatoon or Regina, but rather a hospital outside the major centres.

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SHA CEO Scott Livingstone said the province will make itself available to help out as much as it can.

We have been in discussions with our colleagues in Manitoba and helping them out. As you know, they’re facing some unprecedented challenges with respect to both ICU patients and hospitalizations,” Livingstone said.

“The teams have directly connected and will continue to connect on a daily basis. We’re planning on using Saskatchewan Health Authorities’ provincial ICU capacity to support Manitoba.”

Read more: Manitoba doctors plea for decisive action to reverse ‘catastrophe’ unfolding in health care

Over the next five days, on a day-to-day basis, Livingstone said SHA will evaluate its ability to support and transfer at least one patient per day.

We are, at this point in time, setting an upper limit of five until we have a greater feeling on what the capacity needs for Saskatchewan will be,” Livingstone said.

“And having worked out things like transport protocols in Manitoba, working on getting consent from families, et cetera, as they have for the patients that they’ve transferred to Ontario.”

As of Tuesday, 30 COVID-19 patients were in Saskatchewan ICUs which is down significantly from a month ago when there were 49.

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