Saskatoon hospitals grapple with bed shortages as COVID-19 numbers rise

(Dale Cooper/ CTV News)

As the Omicron COVID-19 surge gains momentum in Saskatchewan, Saskatoon's hospitals are facing a bed crunch.

In a note to city physicians, Saskatoon Health Authority chief of staff Dr. Grant Stoneham called the current situation "very concerning."

"We have been asked to remind all physicians to please re-evaluate all currently admitted patients and discharge those who are ready to go home as to free up in-hospital beds," Stoneham wrote in the memo sent on Sunday.

"I imagine that you all do this on a daily basis, but we were asked to encourage a reassessment of bed status where possible."

A screen capture of the note was shared on Twitter Monday morning by NDP MLA Vicki Mowatt.

According to Stoneham's memo, on Sunday there were 19 admissions pending at St. Paul's Hospital and 20 at Royal University Hospital.

There were no beds available at either hospital at the time of Stoneham's message.

On Sunday there were 80 Saskatoon-area COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to the provincial government.

That's up from 53 a week prior on Jan. 9 and 31 admissions two weeks ago on Jan 2.

In an emailed  statement, the Ministry of Health said Stoneham's memo was part of "a regular process" that occurs when hospital "capacity is challenged."

There were 3,329 active COVID-19 cases reported in the Saskatoon area on Sunday.

However, as the province has shifted to rapid, at-home testing as the primary method to detect coronavirus cases, many cases go unreported.