The city of Red Deer announced Friday that a recent spike in COVID-19 cases and the resulting strain on the healthcare system led it to declare a local state of emergency.
The move came two days after Alberta declared a public health emergency in the fourth wave of the pandemic and Prime Minister Jason Kenney announced new public health restrictions, including a vaccine passport program.
READ MORE: Alberta Adds COVID-19 Measures, Vaccine Passport in Effort to Prevent Health Care System Collapse
As of Saturday afternoon, the government website listed the city of Red Deer as having the 36th highest active case rate per 100,000 residents among 112 regions. Red Deer has a population of 106,395 and currently has 680 active COVID-19 cases.
“The local state of emergency gives the city access to additional resources and special powers under the Emergency Management Act, including personnel from other levels of government if necessary,” the city said in a press release. “The local state of emergency will be in force for up to 60 days.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a dynamic situation. The city administration continues to review the impacts of the most recent restrictions on city services and will provide an update once the details are available. “
READ MORE: COVID-19: City of Calgary Passes New Mask Statute, Restores Local State of Emergency
The number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and ICU admissions in Alberta has increased dramatically in recent weeks. As of Friday afternoon, Alberta Health said the province had 19,201 active coronavirus cases and noted that 911 people are in Alberta hospitals with COVID-19, 215 of whom are in ICUs.
At a press conference Wednesday night, Kenney indicated that the province’s health system was at risk of collapse.
“We may be left without staff and intensive care beds in the next 10 days,” he said.
READ MORE: COVID-19: Red Deer School Trustees Condemn Alberta Government for Causing ‘Division and Chaos’
Alberta Health Services President and CEO Dr. Verna Yiu said this week that as hospitals sell out, efforts are underway to increase response capacity and have reached out to her counterparts in other provinces to see if they can accommodate Alberta patients or send staff. to Alberta if the situation deteriorates to a point where such action is necessary.
Earlier this month, an emergency room physician at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Center said the facility was already experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases, causing a “strain on the system.”
READ MORE: COVID-19 causes ‘system strain’ at Red Deer hospital – ER doctor
“(Cases) more than doubled in the last week, our ICU is full and they are adding more every day,” said Dr. John Colebrook on September 3.
“We are seeing that the vast majority of people who enter and are sick with COVID are definitely not vaccinated.”
Watch below: Some recent videos on the COVID-19 situation in Alberta.
According to the Alberta government, the province’s daily COVID-19 vaccine supply nearly tripled on Thursday, a day after the vaccine passport program was announced.
READ MORE: Alberta Sees Rise in COVID-19 Vaccines, 2,020 New Cases Confirmed Friday
The province administered 28,158 doses of the COVID vaccine on Thursday. For comparison, 9,750 doses were administered on Wednesday.
For more information on the City of Red Deer response to COVID-19, click here.
–With files from Nicole Stillger of Global News and Kirby Bourne of 630 CHED
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