Saskatchewan NDP concerned by capacity pressures in ICUs, acute care

The NDP is challenging the Saskatchewan Party government for not telling the full story when it comes to the province’s fight against COVID-19 in intensive care and acute care units.

Opposition Party Leader Ryan Meili said on Friday there are two different stories being told by the government when it comes to the pandemic.

He explained that Health Minister Paul Merriman is telling them that ICU numbers are fine in the province, yet Saskatchewan doctors were informed in a presentation on Thursday by the Saskatchewan Health Authority that the province is leading the country in ICU admissions and the acute care system is “in a crisis” because of the surge in variant cases.

Meili mentioned how he visited the ICU at the Regina General Hospital Friday morning where one worker told him they are having to double-bunk patients and “deal with a nightmare.”

“Another worker came up, sat beside me and said ‘I just wish they would put on PPE to come in and see what it’s really like because if they did maybe they would do something,” shared Meili.

Merriman admitted on Friday he has heard that double-bunking might be happening on a temporary basis as staff reorganize people so they can have their own room in the unit.

The minister also suggested that numbers are stabilizing in hospitals.

“I believe the slide said if this continues on its current trajectory, which we have seen the hospitalizations and ICUs stabilize since that presentation,” said Merriman when discussing the SHA presentation to doctors.

Merriman added that modelling is important, but they also rely on other tools when looking at restrictions and vaccine rollout including contact tracing and progress through the vaccination program.

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