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The SHA aims to create a “pool” of 300 to 400 employees for these sites.
“It’s very likely that we’ll deploy quickly to complete responses in each of these environments,” said Andrew Will, vice president of infrastructure for SHA.
Releasing these staff means interrupting or suspending other services.
Non-elective surgeries in North Battleford and Prince Albert are suspended, and surgical capacity in Regina and Saskatoon will be reduced by 35%, excluding third-party surgical service providers. As many as 200 of the 900 SHA services have been approved for “slowdowns” if necessary, and the SHA has recruited over 200 unlicensed employees to support contract finding efforts.
Livingstone said postponing surgeries was the only choice.
“We are seeing numbers still at a high level that could potentially overwhelm the healthcare system.”
The SHA had prepared for up to 562 cases per day as of December 15. While that has not happened, Livingstone said the current average of 230 cases per day over seven days is not sustainable.
On Thursday, the province reported that COVID-19 had killed seven more in Saskatchewan, bringing the death toll in the province to 105.
The province also reported 238 new cases and 466 recoveries on Thursday.
Twenty-two of the 126 people hospitalized with COVID-19 were in intensive care.
The SHA said it aims to allocate 250 hospital beds for COVID-19 patients, as well as 68 beds for patients requiring intensive care.