Regina expecting 6 military nurses with more patient transfers anticipated

The COVID situation in the province remains critical with the Canadian Armed Forces now being called in to help Saskatchewan's healthcare system. The Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC) has been in talks with the military trying to figure out what resources would provide the best relief. Taz Dhaliwal has the latest on those discussions.

Six critical care nurses from the Canadian Armed Forces will arrive on Wednesday in Saskatchewan, according to officials from the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC).

The announcement was made to media during a COVID-19 teleconference update on Monday morning with members of the PEOC, the Saskatchewan Health Authority and health officials.

Marlo Pritchard of the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency said the nurses will report to Regina to provide support for health-care workers.

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He added that an air medical transport plane outfitted to transfer ICU patients will be used to fly them out of province. The first flight out of Saskatchewan is set for Tuesday.

Officials are also planning to have up to 20 Canadian Red Cross nurses come to the province, but they are not critical care nurses. Pritchard said he is unaware of when those nurses will arrive.

Other supports were requested by the province, however, Pritchard mentioned that they were not available at the time of their request.

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This comes after Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair tweeted on Friday that there would be military personnel travelling to Saskatchewan to provide support amid strains in hospitals felt from a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Pritchard confirmed that three ICU patients were in the process of being transferred on Monday from Saskatchewan to Ontario for treatment.

Last Friday, the Saskatchewan government announced that Ontario has capacity to receive up to nine additional patients from Monday to Wednesday with up to three patient transfers each of those days.

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However, officials shared during Monday’s update that up to four transfers are being planned for Tuesday.

“Out of province transfers are contingent on several factors, such as ICU capacity, clinical assessment and identification of appropriate patients, severe weather, or other unforeseen events,” reads a statement from the government. “Final numbers may be subject to change.”

Pritchard said more information on patient transfers would be made available soon.

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