Alberta Premier Dr. Hinshaw to provide a COVID-19 update Thursday as Omicron | The Canadian News

Premier Jason Kenney and Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health will provide an update on COVID-19 and the health care system at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

The press conference with the Prime Minister and Dr. Deena Hinshaw will be broadcast live in the publication of this article.

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According to Alberta Health data, hospitalizations in the province have increased by 59.1% between January 4 and 11.

On Wednesday, the province reported that 748 Albertans were in the hospital with COVID-19, 82 of whom were in the ICU.

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In a statement, a spokesperson said that Alberta Health Services is “extremely concerned about the recent increase in cases of COVID-19, both in the community and in our hospitals.

“We are beginning to see some impact on health care services due to staffing challenges, particularly in some acute care services in rural sites due to staff illness or isolation,” said Kerry Williamson, spokeswoman for AHS.

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From On January 11, there were 5,862 sick Alberta healthcare workers. with COVID-19.

Dr. Neeja Bakshi, a physician in the internal medicine and COVID unit at Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, is one of them.

Bakshi says his Edmonton hospital is in “bad, bad shape.”

“On top of that, while admissions are going up, we’re seeing staffing shortages…because we’re getting COVID and people are getting sick and they have to isolate.”

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Dr. Eddy Lang, chief of the department of emergency medicine in the Calgary Area, agrees that the main pressure point in this wave is isolation space and staffing.

“The infection is so widespread, so contagious, and so prevalent that people who come into the hospital with other conditions, like appendicitis and a broken hip, often tell us, ‘oh, by the way, my throat is a little itchy.’ Then we do a swab and sure enough, they’re positive, and that puts a lot of pressure on our system because now they need a special room and they can’t go to a regular hospital room because they tested positive for COVID. ”

The space problem is compounded by what’s known as “blocking access,” Lang explained.

“It’s when the emergency department is overwhelmed with inpatients who don’t have a bed upstairs… We ER doctors a lot of times don’t have a patient to see because the waiting room is full but we don’t have room to take them inside. .

“And this, of course, is compounded by the fact that unfortunately many of our nursing colleagues are out due to COVID infections or because they are in isolation. And that further limits our ability to see patients.”

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Health workers expect Omicron to peak soon as hospitals are overwhelmed by record cases

Health workers expect Omicron to peak soon as hospitals are overwhelmed by record cases

Still, Lang doesn’t think the fifth wave will collapse Alberta’s health care system.

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“No… I really don’t think so. The UK is now clearly on the downside of the fifth wave. Many US states are down in terms of hospitalizations and cases. Sewage reports in many American cities show that things are going down. So, as critically fast as the Omicron wave started, it looks like it will be very short-lived.”

He also noted that, if necessary, Alberta could still build capacity by postponing surgeries again or implementing stricter lockdown measures.

“I am not worried that we will be overwhelmed and call the field hospitals and the Red Cross.”

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COVID-positive patients also exhibit different symptoms in this wave, Lang said.

“Fortunately, the terrible shortness of breath that we saw in the fourth wave and previous waves of patients whose lungs were totally destroyed by COVID is relatively rare.

“People still have to come to the hospital for a few days of oxygen, but they usually stay for a shorter period of time than before.

“For the most part, the patients we are seeing with COVID, fortunately, have upper respiratory problems, not lower respiratory problems or pneumonia.

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“Yes, they are not well, they cough, their throat itches, they do not sleep well, they have a fever. But especially if they are double and triple vaccinated, their symptoms last, at most, one or two days. The patients who, unsurprisingly, are getting into much more serious trouble are the ones who are not vaccinated.”

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Lang said that only about 10 to 15 percent of hospitalized patients are being admitted for COVID-19.

“Most people who come into the hospital have the usual things that put people in the hospital: strokes, heart attacks, skin infections, hip fractures, trauma. Life still goes on.”

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AHS says it has been planning for an increase in staff illness due to the Omicron variant.

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“Plans include shifting staff members to higher priority areas, using alternative models of care, and prioritizing HCWs for testing to maximize the available workforce,” Williamson said.

“If necessary, the reduction of services and surgeries will be considered to redeploy staff to areas of greatest need.”

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AHS said its staff illness rate for December 2021 was “in line” with previous months. However, “we know we will see higher rates of illness in the coming days as the spread of Omicron continues,” Williamson said.

AHS is currently collecting illness rate data for December 2021 and January to date.

As of December 2019, 5.3% of AHS employees were on sick leave. In December 2020, that number was 5.6 percent. In November 2021, it was 5.4 percent.

According to its website, AHS has 108,600 direct employees, 12,500 subsidiary employees, 12,000 volunteers, 11,000 physicians, and 9,000 AHS medical staff members.

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