Central zone has almost as many health care staff off with COVID-19 as Calgary zone. (File photo by Black Press news services)

Central zone has almost as many health care staff off with COVID-19 as Calgary zone. (File photo by Black Press news services)

Central zone has 207 health care staffers off with COVID

Active COVID cases among health workers have climbed almost as high as in Calgary

Central zone has almost as many health care workers off sick with COVID-19 as Calgary.

A report found Monday on the Government of Alberta’s website shows that 207 health care workers in Central zone have active cases of COVID.

This compares to 208 health care workers with active cases of the virus in Calgary zone, and 250 active cases among in health workers in the Edmonton zone.

Provincial data shows only Central zone, which has so far had a total of 1,632 COVID cases among health care workers, has come close to matching the number of active cases among Calgary and Edmonton health workers. The two large centres have, respectively, had 5,448 and 6,172 total cases of COVID among health workers to date.

While Alberta’s Northern zone has had 1,372 total COVID cases among health care workers, only 130 active cases were reported Monday on the government’s website.

And Southern zone, which had 1,145 total cases of COVID amongst health care workers, has 137 active cases.

The graph at alberta.ca/stats/covid-19 states the cases are self-reported, and the health care workers didn’t necessarily get infected while on the job.

Alberta Health Services acknowledged that positive COVID-19 cases in Central zone continue to be higher than in previous waves.

“This is reflective in the number of people self-reporting as healthcare workers with COVID-19 — though those individuals may work for contracted care providers in settings such as continuing care, and are not necessarily AHS employees.”

AHS has responded to having more staff off sick, as well as higher patient hospitalization rates, by using a number of strategies. These include re-assigning and re-deploying staff to areas or greater need, increasing overtime and the hours worked by part-time staff.

There have also been call-outs for staff to work additional hours. As well, there has been recruitment for retirees to come back on the job, as well as students and new hires from out-of-province.

Alberta Health Services continues to believe that “healthcare professionals have a unique responsibility to protect their own health as well as the well-being of those around them who may be at risk.”

AHS is gauging the health of staff through daily fit for work screening, including temperature checks.

But another crucial element is demanding mandatory immunization for health care workers.

While the immunization rate of health workers is typically higher than the general population, AHS stated it’s in the process of confirming the immunization status of its workforce before the Oct. 31 deadline for healthcare workers to get double vaccinated.

“Over 70,000 of our staff, including medical and midwifery staff, have already submitted proof of being fully immunized,” stated AHS on Monday.

“We will continue to closely monitor policy compliance until Oct. 31, and will make operational decisions as the situation requires.”

Alberta Health Services Central ZoneCoronavirusRedDeer