The Saskatchewan Health Authority has started the process of re-opening eight of the 12 regional emergency rooms temporarily closed as part of the health system readiness plan for COVID-19.
Hospitals, including the Galloway Health Centre in Oxbow and the Arcola Health Centre, were converted to alternate level of care sites in May. The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health said this helped build capacity for any potential surge in COVID-19 cases and to protect against outbreaks in the medical facilities.
Kerrobert was the first to reopen on June 12. Arcola and Leader were to see their facilities open again on June 16. Oxbow’s is slated to open on June 22, the same day as Biggar.
Other reopening dates include Preeceville on June 18, Davidson on June 24 and Herbert the following day.
These dates may be subject to the status of active COVID-19 positive cases and the ability to meet all required safety criteria and human resourcing requirements for re-opening.
The SHA continues to work on ER resumption planning for the community hospitals in Broadview, Radville, Lanigan and Wolseley that are not part of the reopening plan.
The announcement last month to convert these 12 facilities to alternate levels of care status drew considerable criticism from the affected communities, who voiced concern with losing the emergency room services and acute care services, and with having to travel greater distances to access healthcare.
A petition was circulated in the southeast region due to the frustration with the loss of services in Arcola and Oxbow.