Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre has a designated area for COVID-19 patients, as it has throughout the pandemic. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre has a designated area for COVID-19 patients, as it has throughout the pandemic. (File photo by Advocate staff)

21 COVID patients receiving care at Red Deer hospital

AHS starting to see increased numbers of health-care workers off on sick days at some sites

Red Deer’s hospital had 21 COVID-19 patients, including eight COVID-related admissions in the ICU, as of Wednesday morning, says Alberta Health Services.

“We are extremely concerned about the increasing number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19. AHS is continually monitoring and planning for all eventualities to ensure we can continue to care for patients, and keep Albertans safe,” said AHS in a statement.

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre has designated care areas for COVID-19 patients, as it has throughout the pandemic.

AHS said plans are in place to increase acute care capacity, with appropriate staffing and resources should it be needed.

“We have successfully increased capacity during all four previous waves of the pandemic, and we are proactively planning to do the same again. During the previous four waves, AHS has been able to increase both hospital and ICU capacity as required to meet demand, and we have an adequate supplies of ventilators. Throughout the pandemic we have been able to provide the level of care required, including for patients requiring ventilation.”


Red Deer at 1,051 active COVID-19 cases

During a Facebook Live event on Tuesday, Premier Jason Kenney reminded people that those who are unvaccinated are more likely to end up in hospital with COVID.

He said in the last 120 days, unvaccinated Albertans were 16.5 times more likely to end up in acute care beds compared to vaccinated Albertans, and unvaccinated were 38.5 times more likely to be admitted to ICU.

Those unvaccinated were also 16 times more likely to die due to implications of COVID-19.

“You can choose to, I suppose, go down a rabbit hole of conspiracy theories and deny all this data if you want to, but you can’t eliminate the much higher risk that actually exists,” Kenny said.

Unfortunately, the choices made by unvaccinated people also affects others, he said.

“There’s no doubt that the decisions of the 10 per cent of the adult population who are not vaccinated is having a very significant impact on the health care system and on health costs and on the delays of surgeries,” Kenney said.

Like other jurisdictions, AHS said it is beginning to see increased number of health-care workers off on sick days.

“This is now beginning to impact some healthcare services, particularly some acute care services at rural sites where staff illness, or isolation, is leading to staffing challenges.”

But Albertans can rest assured that anyone who needs care will receive it, AHS said.

“We have been planning for increased staff illness as COVID-19 cases increase due to the Omicron variant. We know we will see increased sick rates in the days ahead as Omicron spread continues. Plans include shifting staff members to areas of highest priority, using alternate models of care, and prioritizing health-care workers for testing to maximize available workforce. If required, reduction in services and surgeries will be contemplated in order to redeploy staff to areas of highest need.”

AHS said surgery services are currently above 95 per cent of normal volume in total for all sites. Cancer surgeries are above 100 per cent as hospitals work to rebook procedures that had been postponed.

“The total waiting list is stable. It is about 80,500 this week, compared to 81,600 at the beginning of December. The slight drop reflects the volume of procedures being completed as well as lower referrals. We are doing all we can to return to normal surgical volume. However, that plan may have to change should Omicron force us to increase ICU capacity.”

AHS said the best way to protect hospitals is for Albertans to follow public health guidelines and restrictions, stay home when sick, wear a mask, and most importantly get immunized, including a booster.


COVID hospitalizations nearing or reaching record highs in several provinces

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Alberta Health Services Central ZoneRed Deer Regional Hospital Centre