The Saskatchewan Health Authority released an updated surge plan on Thursday with the expected increase in demand from the Omicron variant. 

The surge plan outlines how our health system will handle a higher influx of patients as well as the potential for higher absenteeism of staff during this wave. 

SHA interim Chief Operating Officer Derek Miller said they are planning for an absentee rate of between 15 to 20 per cent. 

“This is not to suggest that across the system at any one time that we would have a broad 20 per cent of our workforce would be not available, but it may happen in certain locations or that facility,” Miller said.  

“If it's an outbreak in a certain community or high levels of transmission where they may experience that kind of absenteeism, that's what we're preparing for.” 

First, the health authority is looking at establishing “Go Teams” of medical professionals. These teams can be quickly deployed across the province to areas that need help. The “Go Teams” will consist of staff that will find themselves available through slowdowns. 

The SHA will continue to look at ways to optimize its acute care capacity and emergency room flow. A plan is also in place to enhance Emergency Medical Services to manage additional demand. 

The SHA will be implementing strategies such as cross-training staff in order to meet the needs of multiple sectors as well as utilizing Supplement Workforce Teams. 

The Supplement Workforce Team will look towards those retired who are willing to come back and give their time, other organization partners in the healthcare sector and contracted services. 

“Across the board, we're really looking at every possible source for staff in order to really mitigate the impact that this is having on services to the population,” Miller said. 

Finally, targeted service slowdowns will happen when and where they are required. The SHA will update the public when slowdowns are needed. 

 

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