SHA CEO Scott Livingstone announced on Tuesday they will begin to resume some health services in the province as they enter phase one of their resumption plan.
Livingstone said they are a long way away from returning to normal operations.
“During the first phase of resumption we plan on balancing both sides of the equation by being both flexible and adaptive. We will not move further to expand services until we are confident that we can safely take care of patients, [while] at the same time managing COVID-19 response,” said Livingstone during a press conference.
“I need to stress that just because some of the services are opening, we are in no way going back to normal. We are a long way from our normal volumes in healthcare and we will continue to monitor and expand as we can do that safely over the upcoming weeks,” he added.
Livingstone said Saskatchewan residents will see a focus on resuming everyday services such as outpatient physiotherapy appointments, kidney health services, some laboratory services, home care and expanded immunizations.
Livingstone added the public can expect a different healthcare experience prior to what it was before COVID-19 hit the province.
“Their healthcare experience will look different because of the additional measures that we’ll have to put in place to protect both patients and staff,” said Livingstone.
“In most locations, this will include adaptations of our waiting room practices to promote physical distancing and an additional emphasis on virtual care wherever possible, as well as screening at all of our healthcare facilities,” he added.
The resumption plan coincides with the province’s Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan which entered phase two as of May 19. The second phase includes the reopening of retail businesses.
Chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said while malls and street-front stores will now be open for business, this is not the time to loiter or socialize in places like malls.
“It’s better to go out and walk while maintaining a physical distance, and go to the malls ready to shop for what you need and support businesses in that way,” said Shahab.
To date, Saskatchewan has reported 599 cases of COVID-19. Of those cases, 123 are considered active and 470 have recovered.