REGINA -- Many non-urgent and elective health services that were paused due to COVID-19 have resumed in Saskatchewan, following a phased in resumption of services by the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

The SHA says the key factor in moving forward is safety, and with that delays can be anticipated as a result.

“The determining factor is safety,” said Corey Miller, vice president of Provincial Programs. “We are reintroducing services in a gradual and thoughtful way that allows us to bring services back on line while implementing strategies to keep patients and providers safe.”

The SHA has enacted a number of preventative measures including but not limited to:

  • Staff, visitor screening and mask process
  • Enhanced cleaning
  • Enforcing physical distancing
  • Quickly identifying staff with COVID-19 symptoms, assisting them with isolation
  • Restricting employees to single work sites
  • Redeploying staff to areas of need
  • Providing adequate mental health programs
  • Processes to safely allow family visitation

Medical imaging staff have implemented a barrier that allows for six feet of distance between patients in the waiting room and exam rooms are cleaned thoroughly between patients.

“When patients require intubation, which can be the case when a patient needs to be sedated prior to an MRI, rooms need to be cleaned and left vacant for two hours post-procedure,” the SHA said in a news release.

These increased cleaning practices have influenced the pace at which health services can be provided.

“We’re learning as we go what the balance is between service resumption and COVID-19 readiness: How much we can turn on in the system now and what the impacts of COVID-19 are on the system throughout its spikes and peaks,” said Miller. “We’re monitoring a number of triggers and evaluating how well the system can be maintained and at the same time what COVID-19 might bring us.”