The Saskatchewan Health Authority says a fivefold increase of COVID-19 patients in ICUs in the last 30 days means nearly 100 per cent of intensive care beds provincewide are full.
It says Saskatoon is under particular pressure. There were 35 COVID-19 patients in regular hospital beds in the city Thursday, but only a handful of intensive care spots available if their conditions worsened.
The health authority has already been diverting intensive care patients from outside the city to other ICUs in the province.
It’s warning people to stop socializing as contact tracing is becomingly increasingly strained because those testing positive have too many close contacts.
Officials say every positive case means hours of work for contact tracers and some investigations found a single person had 150 contacts.
The province reported 299 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. There were 108 people in hospital, 18 of them in intensive care.
Three more people, who were 70 or older, died from the infection, bringing the provincial death toll to 40.
One of the outbreaks in Saskatoon is at a provincial jail, where 68 offenders and four staff were reported on Thursday to be infected with the novel coronavirus for a total of 85 active cases.
The province said incoming inmates who are on remand or those in sentenced custody will be sent to correctional centres in Regina and Prince Albert. It said anyone sent to a jail in the province will now be tested for COVID-10 on top having to be quarantined for 14 days.
The province recently made it mandatory for offenders to wear masks, which has been the case for staff since the summer.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2020.
Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press