REGINA — The Saskatchewan Health Authority says it's limiting the number of family members who can be present in critical care units due to "the extremely high number of patients."
The province's health delivery agency says in a news release Monday that all provincial ICUs and cardiac care units in Saskatoon and Regina will implement what it calls "temporary enhanced surge family presence restrictions."
It means ICU patients will be able to designate only two essential family or support people, with just one person present at a time.
There is no change to end-of-life family presence, which still allows two designated people at a time, in ICUs or elsewhere.
The release explains the change will help ensure proper physical distancing and help mitigate the risk of COVID transmission.
It says there are currently more patients in ICUs across the province than there have been at any other time during the pandemic, and that the vast majority of them are COVID-19 positive.
"These limitations will be reviewed regularly but will remain in place until it is safe to return to the previous level of family presence," the release states, noting the decision was not made lightly.
"ICU teams will work to support phone and virtual connections with family/support persons as much as they are able to."
Saskatchewan reported 425 new COVID-19 cases on Monday and four additional deaths from the virus.
It said there were 347 patients with COVID-19 in the province's hospitals, an increase of 14 from Sunday. Seventy-nine of those patients in hospital are in intensive care.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 11, 2021.
The Canadian Press