The rise in COVID-19 cases in the province and the resulting demand on hospital resources has led to the postponement of scheduled surgeries, says Alberta Health Services.
Scheduled surgeries and procedures are being postponed across all Alberta zones – all patients who are affected will be contacted directly by AHS.
In the Central zone, up to 40 per cent of endoscopy procedures and up to 30 per cent of scheduled surgeries will be postponed.
In the North zone, surgical postponements of up to 60 per cent are expected next week. In the Edmonton zone, postponements of scheduled surgeries and procedures will increase to up to 50 per cent. Calgary zone and South zone are postponing up to 30 per cent of scheduled surgeries, endoscopy and outpatient visits.
AHS said these surgical postponements will help free up space in our hospitals for patients who need a higher level of care, and support redeployment of frontline staff and resources to areas of greatest need.
Intensive care units are currently 95 per cent full across the province, AHS president and CEO Verna Yiu said Friday.
AHS is asking all part-time and casual staff who are available to take extra shifts to do so. Staffing has become the critical issue in this wave of the pandemic, AHS noted.
“We acknowledge that our frontline physicians and staff are tired after 19 months of pandemic response. We are extremely grateful for everything they have done for Albertans, and we regret asking them to go above and beyond again,” said AHS.
“This situation is serious, and we would like to remind all Albertans that we need their help in reducing the transmission of COVID-19 in the community, which in turn will reduce strain on the healthcare system.
“We strongly urge all eligible Albertans to get immunized as quickly as possible, which is your best defence against a severe outcome from COVID-19.”
Calgary zone is opening five beds in the Pandemic Response Unit, located at South Health Campus in the City of Calgary, to be used for day medicine patients, not patients with COVID-19. The day medicine spaces in SHC will be used for general inpatients.
Edmonton zone is also preparing the PRU at the Kaye Edmonton Clinic to potentially open in the next few weeks. Patients who are recovering from COVID-19 and are deemed to be at low risk of transmitting the virus would be treated at the PRU if that additional capacity is required.