Alberta is considering transferring ICU patients to other provinces as the fourth wave puts its healthcare system under “extreme pressure”.
Ontario has agreed to receive Alberta patients if necessary, and Alberta Health Services is also in talks with British Columbia and Manitoba, said President and CEO Dr. Protect Yiu from journalists on Thursday. However, in a statement to CTV News, BC told Alberta that it would not be able to help them “given the current requirements” for its healthcare system right now.
Dr. Yiu stressed that AHS hopes it does not get there, but added: “We do not have the opportunity to simply open more and more ICU rooms and hospital beds, and we do not have an infinite number of staff who can provide critical care. “
Alberta currently has 310 ICU beds, a total of 137 surge beds, says Dr. Yiu. 86% of beds are occupied — largely by COVID-19 patients.
In addition to the possibility of assistance outside the province, AHS says its field hospitals in Edmonton and Calgary are ready.
And the triage protocol is too.
“We have started the training process, so this week we shared with our staff what it is and put the infrastructure in place, so if we had to use – again it would be an absolute, absolute last resort – that the staff is ready, trained and prepared , “said Dr. Yiu.
She begged unvaccinated Albertans to be immunized to protect themselves and others and alleviate the strain on hospitals.
“If the numbers keep rising, we are currently seeing an average of around 18 to 20 new COVID ICU admissions every single day across the province, and we need to bend that curve. We need to bend that trend, and that best we can can do is that [get vaccinated]. So I just can not say enough how important it is for Albertans to go out and get vaccinated. “
IMPORTANT METRICS HOLD SPIKING
Alberta reported 1,718 new COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths Thursday.
The province now has 18,706 active cases, 896 admissions and 222 admissions to the ICU.
Alberta’s pandemic death toll exceeded 2,500 on Thursday.
Nearly 78 percent of hospital cases are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, said health chief Deena Hinshaw.
Of eligible Albertans, 79.6 percent have a vaccine dose, and 71.5 percent have both.
Hinshaw, who held regular media briefings on most of the pandemic before Alberta lifted its restrictions on July 1, said she would start giving updates twice a week again.
“Given the crisis that our province is facing and the public health situation that was posted yesterday, I will keep Albertans informed and will be here regularly to answer questions to the best of my ability.”