Alberta is receiving offers of medical aid from Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador as it grapples with a COVID-19 surge that could hit its health system in a little more than a week.
Dr Verna Yiu, head of Alberta Health Services (AHS), said the province is in talks with the Ontario government to help tackle an intensive care system that is operating at 155 percent above normal capacity.
“Ontario has humbly offered their help, and we are in discussion with them regarding the possible transfer of patients if necessary,” Yiu said on Thursday.
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Fury also offered assistance in a statement on Twitter.
“Newfoundland and the provinces of Labrador and Alberta have long had close ties, with many people traveling back and forth for work or traveling with family,” Fury said.
“I spoke with Premier (Jason) Kenny today to get any support we can provide in his fight against COVID-19. We are all united.”
Yiu said Alberta is also in talks with British Columbia and Manitoba and plans to reach Quebec.
She said, meanwhile, they are converting more and more beds and places to intensive care, including operating rooms.
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said on Twitter that, given current demands on his province’s health system, he would not be able to take any patients from Alberta at this time.
Non-urgent surgeries in Alberta have been largely canceled as staff have been reassigned to COVID care.
Yiu said the AHS has also begun briefing staff on how the triage protocol would work as a “complete, absolute last resort” if necessary.
Under the triage protocol, physicians must ration life-saving equipment and resources, effectively deciding who lives and who is left to die.
He said that he is getting 18 new COVID intensive care patients every day.
Alberta to bring COVID-19 passports, declare health emergency
COVID-19 cases in Alberta began to rise after Kenny lifted nearly all health restrictions in the province on July 1, declaring that the fighting was over and he did not expect hospital cases to rise to alarming levels again Was.
Alberta has regularly seen more than 1,000 new COVID cases daily for weeks. On Thursday, 18,706 active cases were reported and 10 more deaths were reported. There were 896 people in the hospital, of which 222 were in the ICU.
Kenny said Wednesday that without replacement, hospitals will run out of ICU space and staff in 10 days.
In Calgary, opposition NDP leader Rachel Notley presented internal AHS numbers that showed those predictions could be too optimistic.
“These AHS estimates are based on an ICU admission rate that is lower than what we have seen in the past few days,” Notley said.
“I am really heartbroken to think of sick Alberts being taken so far from home and their families, but now we must ask for the help of other Canadian provinces whose governments take a more responsible approach to reopening Huh. “
Also Thursday, municipalities, schools and businesses began to struggle to understand the new gathering rules and capacity limits introduced by Kenny.
Some of them began on Thursday, as vaccine passports began on Monday.
At least eight secondary schools canceled individual classes by the end of the week.
Kenny implemented restrictions to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but there will be some exemptions for institutions and businesses that sign up for the Vaccine Passport program.
Those who sign up for it, including restaurants, retailers and entertainment venues, will only be allowed to host vaccinated people. Those who don’t sign up will have to comply with restrictions, such as one-third customer capacity or, in the case of restaurants, only outdoor seating.
Kenny has been lashed out by members of his own United Conservative Party (UCP) caucus, some urging him to take more action to contain the virus, while others questioning the fairness of measures such as vaccine passports.
One of his backbenchers, Richard Gottfried, without naming Kenny, accused him and the government of unforgivable delays that would now add to Albert’s suffering.
“We apparently had 30 days’ notice that a crisis was brewing, and nothing was done while we lacked leadership,” Gottfried wrote on his Facebook page.
“It would cost us lives and I’m struck by the lack of accountability for clear advocacy and clear warning signs.”
Alberta and Saskatchewan have opposed the introduction of vaccine passports, but lag behind other provinces in getting people vaccinated. Less than 72 percent of Alberta’s eligible population has been fully vaccinated.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe announced Thursday that his province will now require proof of vaccination to try to increase the number of people immunized.