SASKATOON -- The Saskatchewan Health Authority has put together a triage committee that would help doctors decide which COVID-19 patients would get a ventilator if hospitals become flooded with severely ill patients.

“Considering where we are, it is appropriate and responsible to have a set of guidelines on how a health organization and how health care teams can make a good decision at all times and in particular when teams may have a scarcity of resources,” said Dr. Susan Shaw, the SHA's Chief Medical Health Officer.

According to Shaw, the committee was formed when other countries were seeing an influx of COVID-19 cases.

“Having a triage community which is a team of commissions and ethicists actually helps health care providers make consistent decisions aiming for the best result and saving the most lives and life years in a transparent, accountable and fair way,” said Shaw.

She did not confirm whether age or a chronic health history would be factored in determining who would receive a ventilator; instead, she added that the decision would only be made in a worst-case scenario if flatting the curve is not successful.

“We have a very intense focused effort on understanding what surge capacity is required and we have been talking a lot about what models and planning tools can tell us what we need to prepare for,” said Shaw.

The province has ordered additional ventilators in case a potential influx in severe cases occurs.