June 23, 2020

Keeping Saskatchewan Residents Connected During COVID-19

Online and virtual services have been helping keep Saskatchewan residents informed and connected during the COVID-19 pandemic, whether through virtual appointments with physicians, contacting HealthLine 811 or visiting www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19.

Virtual Care 

There were almost 370,000 virtual care physician services between March 13 and June 15, based on physician billings to the Ministry of Health.  During this time period, almost 19 per cent of Saskatchewan residents connected with a physician virtually.  Some of the more common concerns were related to hypertension, diabetes, respiratory symptoms, anxiety and other disorders.

Additionally, virtual care was supported by the rapid deployment of a secure video platform called PEXIP.  It was broadly used by physicians and other care providers across the health system to facilitate video calls during the pandemic.

Approximately 122,000 video calls have been logged on this platform since March 20.

“Our government is committed to the health and well-being of Saskatchewan residents during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Health Minister Jim Reiter said.  “By facilitating innovative approaches, we are helping ensure our citizens get the care they need in a timely manner.”

“Prior to COVID-19, the Saskatchewan Medical Association recognized the importance of virtual care as a supplemental way to provide physician services,” Saskatchewan Medical Association President Dr. Barb Konstantynowicz said.  “The pandemic has reinforced this need, and I am proud of the manner in which our physicians have quickly adapted to this indelible change in health care delivery.”

Connecting Online And By Phone

Residents and businesses have trusted the Government of Saskatchewan and its partners to provide accurate information during the COVID-19 response.

  • The HealthLine 811 COVID-19 Screening Site, which triages COVID inquiries and refers for testing and assessment, has responded to almost 53,000 COVID-19 related calls since March 17, and the online self-assessment tool launched March 15 has had more than a million page views.
  • Since March 18, www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19 the website has had nearly 13 million page views with the current case page being the most viewed with more than four million views.
  • As of Thursday, June 19, the Ministry of Health has responded to more than 9,300 emails sent to the COVID19@health.gov.sk.ca by residents or businesses.
  • The Government of Saskatchewan has encouraged individuals, businesses, manufacturers and organizations that are offering to donate or manufacture supplies to contact procurement@gov.sk.ca.  As of the end of May, more than 2,500 emails have been received, offering supplies, solutions and innovations.
  • The Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA) established a toll free line in order to answer non-health specific questions about the COVID-19 pandemic, and receive and coordinate alleged violations of the mandatory public health orders.  As of June 21, the SPSA had received nearly 13,000 calls, approximately 1,700 of those were regarding enforcement.
  • The Business Response Team, led by the Ministry of Trade and Export Development, has worked with businesses to identify program supports available to them both provincially and federally, and to answer questions regarding allowable businesses.  Since March 23, the Business Response Team responded to nearly 12,900 clients’ phone and email inquiries.

“This has been a challenging time as all of us navigate this pandemic,” Reiter said.  “But I am proud of the way that services across government have been able to ensure Saskatchewan residents have access to the most up to date information about how to stay safe.”

Contact information for COVID-19 questions for individuals and businesses can be found at www.saskatchewan.ca/government/health-care-administration-and-provider-resources/treatment-procedures-and-guidelines/emerging-public-health-issues/2019-novel-coronavirus/contact.