On Saturday, Alberta Health Services said the Central zone ICU, which has 26 beds including 14 additional spaces, is operating at more than 100 per cent capacity. (File photo by Advocate staff)

On Saturday, Alberta Health Services said the Central zone ICU, which has 26 beds including 14 additional spaces, is operating at more than 100 per cent capacity. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Red Deer hospital diverting new COVID-19 ICU patients to Calgary zone: Alberta Health Services

New COVID-19 patients needing a higher level of care are being “temporarily diverted” to health care facilities in the Calgary zone, as the intensive care unit at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre continues to be full.

On Saturday, Alberta Health Services said the Central zone ICU, which has 26 beds including 14 additional spaces, is operating at more than 100 per cent capacity. Twenty beds are being used for COVID-19 patients.

Due to this, new patients who are in need of intensive care are being brought to the Calgary zone.

“AHS continues to do all it can to ensure we have enough ICU capacity to meet patient demand, including opening additional spaces and redeploying staff. The number of patients in ICU has increased by 18 per cent in the past seven days,” AHS said in a statement Saturday.

“Due to the rising number of COVID positive patients, Alberta Health Services (AHS) is making some difficult, but necessary decisions about how healthcare is delivered throughout the province. We are ramping up the number of inter-zone patient transfers in an effort to increase capacity in hospitals and free up care spaces where they are needed most.”

AHS also addressed a video circulating on social media featuring a Red Deer doctor claiming the province waits for a drop in hospital admittance to trigger a lockdown.

The video filmed recently shows an emergency department physician at the hospital making this claim while speaking to a large crowd.

“I’ve worked every night this week almost,” the doctor said in the video.

“My last shift was very slow. There’s been slow and quick days, but it’s definitely slowed down.

“I texted one of my political friends. I said, ‘We must be heading to a lockdown because the numbers are starting to droop.’ As soon as they droop, they put us in a lockdown so it looks like the lockdown fixes everything and they’ve done this every time – I know because I see the numbers.”

In a statement Saturday, AHS said the information provided in the video is false and the doctor’s opinions “do not accurately reflect the COVID-19 pandemic, the AHS pandemic response” or the situation at the Red Deer hospital.

“It is disappointing that someone would spread misinformation about COVID-19 in this way. Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre continues to see high demand for services from COVID and non-COVID patients,” AHS said in a statement.

“In particular, the demand for critical care has continued to increase. At RDRHC we currently have 26 ICU beds, which includes 14 additional spaces that have been created to support increased demand. The ICU is operating at 100 per cent of current capacity (including as of Friday 22 COVID positive patients in ICU).

“It is not unusual to see the number of patients presenting to the Emergency Department ebb and flow. That has happened before COVID and continues to now; however ED visits remain steady.”



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