COVID-19 patients presenting at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Center and requiring “a higher level of care” will be referred to Edmonton and Calgary as the hospital “currently faces capacity issues,” according to Alberta Health Services.
In a statement to Global News, the health authority did not provide further details on how many patients have been diverted and how they are being transported.
Red Deer is located in the central area of AHS, a region whose healthcare capacity is particularly shrinking.
READ MORE: The wave of COVID-19 cases prompts the city of Red Deer to declare a state of local emergency
“In the central area, we currently have 26 ICU beds, including 14 additional spaces,” Gregory Harris, AHS senior communications advisor, told Global News Friday night.
“The ICU in the central area is operating at more than 100 percent of current capacity.”
Just last week, Prime Minister Jason Kenney revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic had expanded the province’s healthcare capacity to such an extent that the possibility of the system collapsing within days was very real.
READ MORE: Alberta Adds COVID-19 Measures, Vaccine Passport in Effort to Prevent Health Care System Collapse
“We may run out of intensive care staff and beds in the next 10 days,” the prime minister said on September 15, the same day the province declared a state of public health emergency and announced its intention to introduce a vaccine passport system, an initiative that went into effect on Monday.
Since then, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and ICU admissions has continued to rise. The federal government has offered its assistance and on Friday, an Alberta government spokesperson confirmed that the province was working with its federal counterparts to address the challenges.
READ MORE: Alberta Announces 11 More Deaths From COVID-19, Sets New Record For Number Of People In ICU With Illness
“The Alberta government is working with our federal counterparts to do what it takes to support our healthcare system and prevent it from being overwhelmed,” said Greg Smith, press secretary to Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver.
“It is important to note that this is a contingency plan and the details are still being analyzed.”
Smith said the government is looking to Ottawa for potential support in the form of “aeronautical medical evacuation capability” and help to increase “levels of AHS critical care personnel, specifically intensive care unit registered nurses and respiratory therapists.” .
READ MORE: Emergency Physician Says Alberta Health Triage Has Started: ‘People Will Suffer And Die’
“Currently, there is no immediate requirement for the Canadian Armed Forces to support us,” added Smith. “There has been no formal request to send the Canadian Armed Forces and nursing staff to Alberta.
“If this situation changes, it will be notified as far in advance as possible, because the dispatch of these personnel will require time to coordinate and complete.”
Watch below: Some recent Global News videos on the COVID-19 situation in Alberta.
See link »
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.