Saskatchewan plans to increase the number of COVID-19 patients it sends to Ontario starting early next week.
Roughly two to four patients will be transferred per day for several days, Marlo Pritchard, president of the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency and head of Saskatchewan's Emergency Operations Centre, said during a COVID-19 technical briefing on Friday.
Earlier this week, six COVID-19 patients were sent to Ontario, and there are plans to move three more — one each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, according to a news release from the province sent on Thursday.
Pritchard said the number of transfers could change depending on factors such as ICU capacity, clinical assessments, identifying appropriate patients, aircraft availability, severe weather or other unforeseen events.
Pritchard said the provincial government will continue to announce confirmed patient transfers.
"These plans are continually in motion but they are subject to change and we are committed to providing confirmed information on transfers of the Saskatchewan patients," he said.
Confusion during initial transfers
There was some confusion early on with Saskatchewan's plans to move ICU patients out of province.
After six patients were moved, Ontario Health said it was prepared to take at least six more.
However during a technical briefing on Wednesday, Pritchard would not confirm whether more patients would be transferred out of the province or when.
That came as a surprise to some health-care workers in both provinces, who voiced concerns on social media that Saskatchewan was pulling back on patient transfers.
The provincial government said Thursday that its ICU capacity is assessed on an hourly basis by medical professionals and other experts.
"The issue of out-of-province transfers is an extremely complicated process which requires a high level of technical consideration, medical oversight and review," the province said in a statement.
It also said unverified social media posts should be disregarded.
However, the statement did not clarify why Ontario thought it would receive a total of 12 ICU patients from the province by the end of the week.
With files from Alexander Quon
Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca