REGINA -- Saskatchewan health officials say the resumption of health care services will enter its second phase on June 16.

In phase two, the SHA will increase surgical capacity from 65 to 70 per cent across the province, including urgent, emergent and some elective procedures.

”This will vary significantly by site, as some locations like Yorkton Regional Health Centre are already up to 75 per cent of regular volumes as of June 10,” the province said in a news release.

Harm reduction services, chronic disease management, therapy and rehab services have resumed since health services began gradually reopening on May 19.

Medical imaging will increase in capacity to 90 per cent of its pre COVID-19 volume. Current service levels were up to 83 per cent in the first phase.

“As we safely increase service levels, we are learning to do business in different ways that promote access to services for Saskatchewan residents while still ensuring safety and proper precautions against the spread of COVID-19,” SHA Chief Executive Officer Scott Livingstone said. “We know that this has meant some adjustments for patients and has resulted in longer waits and extra steps at times. We continue to express our gratitude to the public for their patience and understanding about the need to take these extra safety measures.”

Appointments continued to be offered virtually, with face-to-face services as needed. The province says it delivered 122,000 appointments virtually in the month of March.

Sleep disorder clinics, cardiac stress testing, eye centre testing as well as additional cast clinics will reopen in June.

“Although June 16 is when many of these services may start, a critical part of SHA’s process is that every service re-introduced must undergo a rigorous process to confirm readiness and safety, including steps to ensure all appropriate COVID-related precautions are in place,” the province said.

The SHA does not have a defined start date for their next phase of reopening, but Livingstone said the authority has been looking at around two to three week periods between phases.


Health Minister Jim Reiter says while citizens may be concerned about a second wave of COVID-19 as the province reopens, the SHA is still prepared to set up field hospitals if needed.

“It’s important that we are prepared,” said Reiter. “Work has been ongoing to establish field hospitals for Regina and Saskatoon. It’s now nearing the point where if needed, work could be triggered to quickly make these field hospitals operational.”

Calling the field hospitals an “insurance policy,” Reiter said in the event of a surge, the facilities will help the SHA continue to treat COVID-19 patients, without having to scale back surgeries and other health services.

SHA CEO Scott Livingstone estimates the two field hospitals would cost the province around $8 million total, including construction, equipment and IT services. However, he reiterated the equipment can be spread out to other SHA facilities if it is not needed.

“The philosophy we use when creating the context around field hospitals is the equipment that would be used in a field hospital would be used in a normal hospital,” Livingstone said. “If the equipment wasn’t used, or if it was used, we would have the ability to reuse it at any given time to set up a field hospital for any other reason.”

In order for these field hospitals to be necessary, Livingstone says the province would need to see a significant increase in bed demand for non-COVID-19 patients, along with a major surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.