Sask. ICU doctor says future patient transfers to Ont. cancelled

An intensive care doctor from Saskatoon reported the Government of Saskatchewan has called off all further patient transfers to Ontario ICUs, which the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre denies.

On Monday, the province confirmed six intensive care patients from the province will be sent to Ontario.

Dr. Hassan Masri told CTV News there were plans in place for “a lot more” Saskatchewan patients to be sent out east for care daily for the rest of the week.

“The Government has now, in the last two hours, surprised everyone, including the Saskatchewan Health Authority and all of us here, by canceling all out of province transfers,” he said on Wednesday evening. “We were setting up and we were ready to move patients to Ontario over the next few days.”

“The government is not communicating with anyone about its own decisions.”

I hold @PremierScottMoe personally responsible for the death that is going to happen in the next few days.The premier has decided to cancel all transfers out of province after today.This is going to lead to an immense amount of tragedy.This premier has lost my trust.

— Hassan Masri (@drhassoun) October 20, 2021

Dr. Michael Warner from Toronto said he expected to receive a Saskatchewan COVID-19 patient at his hospital on Thursday.

Update:@SKGov has just cancelled transfers to ON beyond the initial 6 #COVID ICU patients already announced.

We will not be receiving a patient tomorrow.

As the #COVID19SK ICU situation has not improved, this decision is confusing.

We remain willing and able to assist.

— Michael Warner (@drmwarner) October 20, 2021

CTV News asked the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA) - which oversees the management of the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre – to clarify the information provided by health officials in Ontario.

“No decision had been made regarding potential out of province patient transfer for Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021,” Christopher Clemett with the SPSA said in an email.

Ontario Health executive vice president Dr. Chris Simpson told CP24 on Tuesday there are plans in place to transfer an additional six patients throughout Thursday and Friday – which would bring the total number of patient transfers from Saskatchewan to 12.

Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency president Marlo Pritchard responded to that statement on Wednesday morning - saying that is not the case.

“I'm not sure where that number came from. I can't speak to what they say,” Pritchard said. “We have shipped out three, we will be shipping out a further three, and we are planning and continuing to assess moving forward.”

CTV News has reached out to the office of Premier Scott Moe for a response on Wednesday afternoon but they have not responded.