A farmer in Saskatchewan is questioning the provincial government’s decision to temporarily close his town’s emergency room and why there wasn’t more notice.
Kris Williams lives in Davidson, Sask., about halfway between Regina and Saskatoon.
He says he learned on Wednesday, via text from a health care worker in the community, that the ER would be closed as of Thursday as part of the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s (SHA) COVID-19 plan.
The health authority says the Davidson hospital is one of 12 community facilities where acute-care admissions and emergency services are being temporarily suspended to ensure enough capacity if the novel coronavirus surges.
Mr. Williams says he’s concerned about the ER being closed because people needing care will have to travel upwards of an hour to either Regina or Saskatoon.
He also says he’s confused about how he found out.
“Nothing from the provincial government, nothing from the [SHA],” Mr. Williams said. “I’m busy out in the fields. I’m going from my house to my tractor every day.”
Health authority chief executive officer Scott Livingstone said the plan about emergency services was announced weeks ago and there have been discussions with local mayors.
He said the authority began implementing the plan last week.
As of Thursday, Saskatchewan was reporting 582 total COVID-19 cases. The province said there were no active infections in the south. There were four new cases in the northern La Loche area, which has been hit by an outbreak, and one case in the Regina region.
Mr. Williams questions why, with the low number of infections, emergency services are being shut down.
“I’m concerned that should a situation arise where minutes, seconds could be the difference, that we’ve got an emergency room that is there [but] can’t be accessed because of something that might happen,” he said.
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