Frontline workers at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre are waiting to see if reopening schools results in a second wave of COVID-19. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Red Deer hospital workers hold their breath with schools reopening

Concern about a second COVID wave

Red Deer hospital workers are waiting to discover if the reopening of schools will trigger a second COVID-19 wave that could overwhelm medical resources.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Keith Wolstenholme said frontline staff at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre are worried how a second wave could impact local health care.

“Is this going to mean a shutdown of everything that was shut down before, like diagnostic imaging, elective surgery, screening programs?

“We saw there were definitely some negative effects from those programs being shut down. We certainly want to avoid that happening again,” Wolstenholme said.

He said when the pandemic struck, the focus was on flattening the curve so there was enough equipment to treat COVID-19 patients.

“Sometimes, patients need to go on a ventilator for three or four weeks, and we definitely have limited resources with regards to ICU beds and ventilators.”

Related:

Red Deer hospital creates more space for COVID-19 patients

COVID-19 ‘outbreak impacting two units’ of Red Deer hospital: Alberta Health Services

He said so far, COVID-19 has not struck central Alberta quite as hard as other regions in the province.

As of Monday, Alberta Health Services’ central zone had experienced 588 COVID-19 cases, with 554 recovered, during the pandemic.

“We’ll see what happens with the reopening of schools. I think that’s going to be a big determiner. If we can get through that without a huge second wave, we’re probably ready to return to the new normal. But I don’t think there’s any guarantee that’s going to happen.”

Wolstenholme encouraged people to continue to follow the recommendations to wear masks and social distance.

“I don’t think we should treat it like it’s over. People need to keep being smart and keep being safe.”

He said since the return of elective surgery in June, the impact of COVID has actually been quite small. But the volume of trauma and emergency cases over the summer has probably been higher than previous summers, because people were participating in more outdoor activities and sticking closer to home.

“Certainly this summer, we have had more than one occasion where we’ve had to cancel elective patients because the emergency add-list has been so large. That’s unusual.

“With certain elective surgeries, like hip and knee replacements, the wait lists are already very long, so it’s quite disappointing when we have to cancel that type of patient,” Wolstenholme said.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATED: Red Deer has nine active COVID-19 cases

Number of cases increased by 107 Friday

Vaping persists amongst Canadian youth

New survey into vaping habits of youth

Man sentenced to 7 years for gas-and-dash death of Alberta gas station owner

Ki Yun Jo was killed after Mitchell Sydlowski sped off in a stolen cube van without paying for $198 of fuel

Skydivers raise money for Kids Cancer Care at Innisfail Airport

A group of Albertans proved they would go to new heights to… Continue reading

Notley to stay on as Alberta NDP leader for 2023 provincial election

The NDP took almost all of Edmonton but few seats outside of the city

Vancouver Whitecaps fighting for playoff position on U.S. road trip

Vancouver Whitecaps fighting for playoff position on U.S. road trip

Toronto FC expects to play six games in home away from home in East Hartford

Toronto FC expects to play six games in home away from home in East Hartford

Reed takes the lead as the real US Open gets started

Reed takes the lead as the real US Open gets started

Eflin fans 9, Harper homers, Phillies blank Blue Jays 7-0

Eflin fans 9, Harper homers, Phillies blank Blue Jays 7-0

Citrus vs. Cactus: Tampa-Dallas NHL final is duel of former coaching associates

Citrus vs. Cactus: Tampa-Dallas NHL final is duel of former coaching associates

Billions more for health care tops premiers’ wish list for throne speech

Billions more for health care tops premiers’ wish list for throne speech

Partial closure of Canada-U.S. border extended to Oct. 21

Partial closure of Canada-U.S. border extended to Oct. 21

Provinces crack down as COVID-19 cases soar across much of Canada

Provinces crack down as COVID-19 cases soar across much of Canada

Most Read