Saskatoon hospitals ready for COVID-19 uptick: SHA CEO – Saskatoon

Saskatoon hospitals ready for COVID-19 uptick: SHA CEO - Saskatoon

The CEO of the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) said the province’s health-care system is ready for the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases — even with Saskatoon’s hospitals nearly full.

According to the SHA website, 93 per cent of Saskatoon City Hospital’s planned beds were full around noon on Sunday.

Saint Paul’s was 96 per cent full and Royal University Hospital was at 95 per cent capacity.

Read more: Saskatchewan reports 60 new cases as hospitalizations hit an all-time high

With the numbers of infections in the province rising — and the largest number of active cases in Saskatoon, as of Sunday — Scott Livingstone said the SHA had increased its capacity in recent months, with acute care beds across the province able to accommodate patients.

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“We will use that capacity before we see any other major changes,” he said, speaking by phone at press conference on Friday.

During the daily provincial COVID-19 pandemic update, Livingstone called the rise in coronavirus infections concerning, but noted not every positive case results in someone needing hospital care.

“In the summer, when we saw our peaks on July 28, very few people were hospitalized and if they were hospitalized they weren’t ventilated. And they were in hospital for a short period of time,” he said.

Read more: Uptick in Saskatoon emergency room visits after ‘eerily’ quiet March

He added that hospitalization also depends on who the patient is, stating that seniors and young people with chronic conditions are more likely to need to be admitted.

And since those who need to be hospitalized usually require it three weeks after they test positive, he said, the SHA will have time to prepare.

He told reporters the health authority’s COVID-19 response plan was still in effect and that the extra capacity meant the SHA won’t reduce services.

Read more: Flu shot clinics open across Saskatchewan

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But he said that could change if infection rates rise.

“We’re watching the numbers… as we see those trends go up, we will put other initiatives in place to support patients as we need to,” he said.

Dr. Saqib Shahab said Saskatchewan residents could help keep hospitalizations as low as possible by getting their flu shot.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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