01/24/2013 05:24 EST | Updated 03/26/2013 05:12 EDT

Norovirus Canada: Outbreaks Leads To Overcrowding At Saskatoon Hospitals


SASKATOON - A combination of demand and outbreaks of norovirus has created overcrowding problems at Saskatoon's Royal University and St. Paul's hospitals.

The health region says it has opening temporary beds within the hospital to move patients out of emergency faster. But it says those temporary units are also full.

The region says every staffed patient room is being used and that has forced it to move some patient beds into the hallways.

"We are so sorry patients and families have to experience this. We know this is hard on them as well as our staff and physicians," said Sandra Blevins, the region's vice-president of integrated health services.

"We are only taking this type of action when it's a last resort to ensure people are receiving the care they need and being moved out of emergency."

The problem is made worse because long-term care facilities are full and people are in hospital waiting for placement within those facilities.

The health region says it will keep looking for solutions to ease the overcrowding, including the possibility of moving patients to one of its smaller hospitals outside of Saskatoon to relieve some of the pressure.

Saskatoon is not the only Saskatchewan city to have overcrowding problems lately.

So far this month, the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region has postponed more than two dozen elective surgeries, a number of endoscopies and nearly a dozen non-elective surgeries because it doesn't have space.

The Regina General Hospital has been hovering around the 130 per cent capacity mark for much of January.