EDMONTON – With nearly 750 Albertans hospitalized with COVID-19, the province has finalized plans for the Canadian Red Cross to establish an “alternative care center,” or tent hospital, at the Butterdome at the University of the Alberta.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Deena Hinshaw said on Wednesday the facility would create an additional 100 inpatient beds if needed, but there were no plans to staff the site yet.
“This is a purely preventive measure to be used if necessary in the future. ”
It will take several weeks to set up the tented hospital, Hinshaw said.
The Butterdome was used as an assessment center in the spring.
The province has confirmed 1,270 new cases of COVID-19 on some 17,500 tests in 24 hours.
His positivity rate has dropped to 7.3%, although 749 people remain in hospital with the disease. Of these, 139 are receiving intensive care.
Alberta’s top doctor also reported 16 new COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the total of deaths since March to 760.
“It’s a sobering statistic that in less than 10 months more Albertans have died from COVID-19 than from the flu in the past 10 years combined.
While Hinshaw said no demographics are the only reason cases in the province have increased, she reminded the public that it affects all age groups, including young adults who are not even the most vulnerable.
“To date, in Alberta, more than 32,000 people between the ages of 20 and 39 have contracted COVID-19. More than 380 of them have been hospitalized. And unfortunately, eight of them died, ”she said. “To put that into perspective, if you brought together all Albertans between the ages of 20 and 39 who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, they would fill the Saddledome in Calgary, the Centrium in Red Deer and the Enmax Center in Lethbridge.
HOW THE ROLLOUT VACCINE WORKS
With the first 3,900 doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine already administered in the province, and 25,350 more to arrive next week, Hinshaw took several minutes to reassure Albertans that he had undergone rigorous checks at the provincial and federal levels .
Respiratory therapists, intensive care staff and physicians, as well as long-term care and support staff at designated facilities were among the first to be vaccinated.
Some of the 25,350 doses that arrive next will be saved for administration as a second dose for those who have received the vaccine this week. The remainder will be donated to priority healthcare workers across the province. As the province receives the green light to transport the vaccine – which must be refrigerated at ultra-cold temperatures – it will consider immunizing residents of long-term support facilities.
As the first months of the new year progress, the vaccine will be made available to more healthcare workers like home care staff and emergency workers. In part “B” of the first phase of deployment, any Albertan 75 years of age or older will be offered the vaccine, as well as people 65 years of age or older in First Nations and Métis settlements, and workers in the communities. COVID-19 neighborhoods. The focus will be, Hinshaw said, on those most at risk of contracting COVID-19 and those who care for them or have the fewest numbers in the health care system.
Hinshaw said the second phase of the deployment could include first responders and frontline professionals as early as April, but those specific groups would be decided in the new year.
“As more vaccines become available and new vaccines are licensed, we may be able to change these dates if things go faster than expected. But at this point, it’s our planned schedule.
She confirmed that some “groups” have requested expedited access. Alberta Health would consider its services when making decisions for Phase 2, Hinshaw said.
Hinshaw urged Albertans to get vaccinated when a vaccine is available to the general public.
“There is overwhelming scientific evidence that vaccination is the best defense against serious infections. We are taking all necessary precautions and acting on the clear evidence that this vaccine is safe for Albertans and that it works.
“When it’s your turn, get vaccinated. There is an act of kindness for yourself, for your loved ones and for your community. ”