British Columbia does not currently have the capacity to help ease the strain on Alberta’s hospital system, ravaged by COVID-19, Health Minister Adrian Dix said Thursday.
“The Ministry of Health met with our Alberta counterparts today. Given the current demands on the BC healthcare system, we will not be able to assist with receiving patients at this time, ”Dix said in a statement.
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“However, we have told Alberta that if there are things we can do to support them, we will. And if we can accept patients in the future, we will. “
On Wednesday, Alberta Prime Minister Jason Kenney declared a state of public health emergency as he said the province could run out of beds and intensive care staff within 10 days.
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At the same briefing, Alberta Health Services President and CEO Dr. Verna Yiu said the province was looking to its neighbors for ICU space or trained staff who could come to Alberta to help.
The province is dealing with a record 270 COVID-19 patients in the ICU, and has been forced to cancel hundreds of surgeries due to pressure on hospitals from mostly unvaccinated patients.
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“That is taking into account the 132 additional spaces that we have opened to meet the demand. Without those spaces, we would be at 156 percent of our normal capacity, ”he said.
“There would not be enough ICU beds for those who need them.”
British Columbia has seen a steady increase in its own COVID-19 hospitalizations since early August, and doctors have warned of mounting tension and staff shortages.
The number of patients in BC’s ICUs as of Thursday was 134, compared to just 16 at the end of July, but still below the maximum of 178 set in April.
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