FILE - The Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Dartmouth, N.S. on Thursday, June 3, 2021. Nova Scotia residents, age 12 years and older, can receive a vaccination and it is expected that all will receive their first dose by the end of June 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Military to ‘be in position’ Monday to decide where to deploy nurses in Alberta

OTTAWA — Public Safety Canada says a contingent from the Canadian Armed Forces is expected to “be in position” Monday to decide where to deploy eight critical care nurses that will help Alberta combat the fourth wave of COVID-19.

The federal agency also says the Canadian Red Cross is planning to provide up to 20 medical professionals, some with intensive care unit experience, to augment or relieve existing staff working in Alberta’s hospitals.

Premier Jason Kenney announced Thursday that the province was finalizing a deal to secure eight to 10 intensive care ward specialists from the military, likely to be based in Edmonton, to help in hospitals.

He also said up to 20 trained Red Cross medical workers, some with intensive care experience, would be deployed in central Alberta.

Alberta is dealing with a COVID-19 crisis that has seen well over 1,000 new cases a day for weeks while filling intensive care wards to almost twice normal capacity.

The province’s health delivery agency has had to scramble and reassign staff to handle the surge of intensive care patients far above the normal capacity of 173 beds.