Moe apologizes for health service slowdowns as province races to keep up with ICU demand

Saskatchewan’s premier has apologized to residents impacted by significant health service slowdowns related to COVID-19.

Healthcare services, including speech, physical therapy and certain surgeries, have been put off as the focus of support shifts to the province's problematic situation in intensive care.

Premier Scott Moe offered his apology in a one-on-one interview with CTV News.

"I apologize to them with respect to the fact we have had to slow these services to support our ICU capacity. Ultimately to support a disproportionate number of people that have made the choice to not be vaccinated,” Moe said Tuesday. ``They are a disproportionate number in our ICU beds… As I've said, fortunately we live in a nation where the provinces can support one another, but unfortunately, right now it's Saskatchewan's turn to receive that support."

As of Tuesday, there are 335 residents receiving hospital treatment for COVID-19 in Saskatchewan with 83 of those people in intensive care. The province said 75 per cent of hospitalized patients were not fully vaccinated.

The SHA has redeployed 180 staff into ICUs across the province, according to Derek Miller, emergency operations centre commander with the SHA. He said Monday the healthcare system remains “significantly strained.”

SEEKING ICU ASSISTANCE

It was confirmed that six intensive care patients from the province will be sent to Ontario. Moe also said the province requested specialized ICU support from Ottawa on Monday.

Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency president Marlo Pritchard said the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre reached out to several U.S. states and Canadian provinces for assistance managing the high demand for intensive care.

The jurisdictions include Manitoba, Alberta, Ontario, Illinois, Montana, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Minnesota, Ohio, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

To date, Montana, Michigan, North Dakota and Pennsylvania have declined.