Of those intensive care patients, 222 are currently on ventilators, more than half of whom are COVID-19 patients, Dr Verna Yiu, AHS president and CEO, said at a press conference on Monday. . “This is by far the highest number of critical care patients we’ve ever seen in our healthcare system and certainly higher than what we’ve seen in waves one and two,” Yiu said.
Over the past month, the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care beds has increased by more than 100%, Yiu said. Capacity across Alberta would have been exceeded if the province had not opened 106 additional intensive care beds, in addition to the province’s approximately 170 pre-pandemic capacity.
Of these additional ICU beds, 54 are in Edmonton, 40 in Calgary, while six have been added each in the northern and central health zones.
The challenge is staffing
“We have the capacity to expand to a total of 425 ICU beds province-wide, opening additional unstaffed beds, reusing other clinical areas such as isolation rooms or recovery rooms. to act as an ICU, ”she says.
“Our biggest challenge right now, however, is staffing those extra spaces, and it’s definitely more difficult than the first and second waves. “
The number of hospitalizations tends to be around two weeks behind the trend of cases, Yiu said, so Alberta can expect to see a need for beds increase in the coming days.
“The threat of serious illness is real,” Yiu said. “We are seeing more and more people in need of intensive care care, especially younger adults with fewer underlying issues.
“Our intensive care teams are providing incredible life-saving care to these patients, but it’s important to keep in mind that they’ve been doing so for over 15 months through three significant waves. They are naturally tired and we should all take a break enjoying the work they are doing, ”she said.
Yiu was joined at the press conference by Premier Jason Kenney and Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw.
You can watch the press conference live here.
The number of daily active cases recently started to decline across the province, but Alberta continues to have the highest rate of active cases in all of Canada.
Alberta reported 1,140 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, including a total of 22,280 in the province. There were three more deaths, bringing the total to 2,143.
The number of people with COVID-19 in hospital has fallen to 647, but the number of those patients in intensive care units has risen to 186.
Alberta’s positivity rate now stands at around 9.6% and the last reported R-value for the province was 1, meaning the virus spreads to one person for every confirmed case.
Over 2.1 million doses of the vaccine have been administered, and 328,414 Albertans have now been fully immunized with two injections.
On Twitter Sunday, Hinshaw said excellent progress had been made on the vaccination campaign over the past week, but encouraged those who are eligible to reserve their photo as soon as possible.
The province said every adult in Alberta should have access to a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of June.
Meanwhile, Shoppers Drug Mart says it now offers rapid COVID-19 antigen tests for asymptomatic people at all of its pharmacies in Alberta and Ontario, although these must be purchased.