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Seek appropriate health care when needed: Saskatchewan Health Authority

The general public is being reminded by SHA to seek appropriate care when needed in the midst of the fourth wave of COVID-19. Joe Raedle/ Getty Images

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) is reminding the general public to seek appropriate care when needed in the midst of the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In these pandemic times, it can be hard to know whether someone should stay at home, go to the doctor or seek emergency care when they’re feeling ill, according to a press release on Friday.

SHA officials said a good rule of thumb is for people to call HealthLine 811, their family doctor or nurse practitioner if they have minor symptoms like a fever, vomiting or diarrhea. If symptoms worsen significantly or people are experiencing significant distress, they said call 911 or go to the emergency department.

Read more: COVID-19 surge in Saskatchewan straining health-care system, organ donations paused

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“Yes, we’re busy, but we’re focusing on people with acute and emergency services that need our care. So don’t stay away. Please be understanding that not all care is continuing, but our emergency in urgent care is here for you,” SHA chief medical officer Dr. Susan Shaw said Thursday.

​“We are still here for you if you need urgent and emergent care. And I really don’t want anyone to stay away if they think they’re having a major illness or a sudden change in their health. Seek care, call 911.

“We are there for you. It is very safe to come in and have care inside our hospitals and our emergency rooms.

Read more: ‘Incredibly real’: Saskatchewan Health chief medical officer on COVID-19 burnout, protests

SHA laid out the following for people seeking appropriate health care:

  • When to stay home: If a person has COVID-19 symptoms, stay at home, call HealthLine 811 for a COVID-10 test referral or go to your local testing site.
  • When to go to the doctor: Call or visit family doctors, nurse practitioners or community clinics for everyday health-care needs. Most physician offices are seeing patients in person. It is also very important that people continue to connect with their provider about the care of any chronic diseases they may be living with.
  • When to seek emergency care: If someone is experiencing significant distress such as unconsciousness, difficulty breathing, chest pain, signs of a stroke, trauma or severe bleeding, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.
  • When to go to an assessment and COVID-19 treatment site: If a person tests positive for COVID-19, their health-care provider may refer them to an assessment and treatment site, which are located across Saskatchewan to reduce in-person visits to emergency departments.

On Friday, Saskatchewan’s dashboard showed 276 COVID-19 hospital patients, 4,734 active cases and the overall death toll rose by five to 663. The province’s seven-day average of new daily infections is at 478.

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— with a file from David Giles

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

For full COVID-19 coverage, visit the Global News coronavirus web page.

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