Saskatchewan to take in Manitoba ICU patients

Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) CEO Scott Livingstone. (Government of Saskatchewan/Screenshot)

During the province’s regular COVID-19 press conference on Tuesday, Premier Scott Moe and SHA CEO Scott Livingstone confirmed that the province will be assisting Manitoba by taking in ICU patients this week.

“Yes that is the case and we are 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 to a question from Global News.

“Our hearts are most certainly with many families in Manitoba, where we have capacity and where we can help we most certainly are going to help our fellow Canadians in our neighbouring province,” Moe added.

Livingstone explained that throughout the pandemic the province has been monitoring for staff capacity in Intensive Care Units.

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

The provinces are connecting and continue to connect on a daily basis. Livingstone added that the province is planning to use the SHA’s ICU capacity to support Manitoba beginning on Wednesday.

“We will accept our first patients from Manitoba and they will be sent to an ICU but hopefully not Saskatoon or Regina because we know we have capacity outside of that and then the plan is to work on a day by day basis for the next five days to look at if we have the ability to support a transfer, basically a patient a day,” he explained.

At this point the province is setting an upper limit of five patients until they have a better idea what the capacity will be. The implications around things like transport protocols also have to be worked out as well according to Livingstone.

“Manitoba is working on consent from families like they have for the patients they have transferred to Ontario,” he explained.

As far as patient impacts in the province, Livingstone explained that is one of the reasons they are monitoring ICU capacity and the province is currently at lower limits of surge capacity.

“We have been a lot higher provincially with our non ICU capacity and certainly that’s why we are only accepting one patient and then looking at what tomorrow will bring to support our neighbours in Manitoba,” he said.

Livingstone added that the approach is cautious and done collectively with ICU teams around the province.

“So we won’t be transferring our patients from Manitoba to a single ICU in Saskatoon or Regina. We would be looking at the patient’s characteristics and insuring that they would be properly cared for within the ICU capacity across the province,” he explained.