BC will help Alberta “where we can and when we can” but will not offer ICU beds: Horgan | The Canadian News

British Columbia’s prime minister says the province will do everything it can to help Alberta avoid the collapse of its health care system, but has failed to offer hospital beds or staff.

“We are ready to help where we can and when we can, but we must also keep our ICU capacity at a level that allows us to continue with surgeries,” John Horgan said Friday.

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“We had to suspend some surgeries as a result of COVID cases in our ICUs.”

On Thursday, BC Health Minister Adrian Dix said BC would accept patients from Alberta in the future “if we can.”

Horgan said he had spoken with Alberta Prime Minister Jason Kenney on Friday and the provinces were in regular communication on how to coordinate medical care.

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He said both provinces remained focused on vaccination as the key to protecting residents.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: A look at the current situation of the BC UCI'

COVID-19: A look at the current situation of the ICU of BC

COVID-19: A look at the current situation of the ICU of BC

Alberta declared a public health emergency on Wednesday, as Prime Minister Jason Kenney warned that intensive care units could be overwhelmed in about a week, due to a surge in unvaccinated patients.

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Alberta has been forced to cancel hundreds of surgeries and is racing to convert as many beds as possible to support intensive care, including operating rooms.

Alberta Health Services Director Dr. Verna Yiu said this week that the province’s ICUs were operating at 155 percent of capacity, and that the province has reached out to other jurisdictions for help.

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Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador have offered help, but British Columbia and Quebec have said they don’t have the capacity to help.

As of Thursday, BC had 134 COVID-19 patients in the hospital, 117 of them unvaccinated.

Click to play video: '' It's Devastating ': A Veteran Alberta Nurse Shares The Emotional Impact The Fourth Wave Of COVID-19 Is Having On Frontline Workers''

‘It’s Devastating’: Veteran Alberta Nurse Shares Emotional Impact Fourth Wave Of COVID-19 Is Having On Frontline Workers

‘It’s Devastating’: Veteran Alberta Nurse Shares Emotional Impact Fourth Wave Of COVID-19 Is Having On Frontline Workers

British Columbia’s health system has a total of 510 ICU beds and 218 emergency beds, 444 of which were occupied as of Thursday.

Horgan said British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health official Dr. Bonnie Henry would provide an update on the hospital’s capacity next week.

“COVID-19 is creating hardship in our acute care facilities as unvaccinated British Columbia residents are contracting COVID-19, leading to increased hospitalizations, increasing strain and stress on frontline workers. They work double shifts, sometimes triple shifts for months and months and months, “he said.

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Alberta receives between 18 and 20 ICU admissions for COVID-19 per day: AHS

In the past two weeks, fully vaccinated people, who make up seven out of 10 British Columbia residents, have accounted for just 13.6 percent of COVID-19 cases in British Columbia hospitals.

But the province continues to grapple with pockets of lower vaccination rates in some areas, particularly in the northern and eastern regions.

In the Northeast Peace River region, for example, only half of eligible people are fully vaccinated according to data from the BC Center for Disease Control.

And in the Southeastern Enderby and Creston local health areas, fully vaccinated people make up just 59 and 60 percent, respectively, of the eligible population.

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