A longstanding partnership was strengthened recently when the University of Saskatchewan (USask) approached the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) with a willingness to assist in COVID-19 planning.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the province this spring, the USask Crisis Operations team stepped up to assist the SHA in many ways, including providing supplies, equipment, and facilities to aid in pandemic planning. Most notably, Merlis Belsher Place was identified as a field hospital location in Saskatoon. Ongoing planning and construction are continuing which will result in a 125 bed capacity field hospital to treat COVID-19 patients.
“It is important this facility be ready to activate into operation very quickly should a surge in COVID-19 positive cases occur.” says Craig Ayers, SHA Director Major Projects. “Merlis Belsher Place is a new facility and the goal has been to complete any required adjustments to the facilities to support planned clinical operations but do so in a way that minimizes impact to the existing facility and equipment.”
“The support we have received from USask throughout the pandemic has been tremendous.” says Terri Nixey, Field Hospital co-lead. “It further cements our partnership going forward.”
Additionally, medical equipment supplied by USask has enabled the SHA to increase COVID-19 treatment capacity within its existing facilities as well as the field hospital.
"We are working to support them in any way that we can throughout this process,” said Wade Epp, USask’s associate vice-president of services. “We talk about our commitment to be The University the World Needs and it’s not lost on us that this is one of those times where the community has asked and we are working hard to deliver on that.”
The SHA extends its sincerest thanks to the University of Saskatchewan.
Merlis Belsher Place was identified as a field hospital location in Saskatoon.