Three Calgary hospitals grapple with COVID-19 outbreaks as cases rise – .

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Three Calgary hospitals grapple with COVID-19 outbreaks as cases rise – .


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COVID-19 outbreaks have been declared in three Calgary acute care centers, as cases and alarms in Alberta’s healthcare system continue to rise.

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Foothills Medical Center declared an outbreak on Aug. 18 after one patient tested positive. The Peter Lougheed Center received the same designation three days earlier with a patient and worker who contracted the virus. Two units at Rockyview General Hospital also declared outbreaks after two patients from one unit at the facility tested positive on August 17 and a patient and a staff member from another unit were tested positive on August 21.

“If it is obvious that a case is contracted in the hospital, then we would consider it to be an epidemic,” said Alberta Health Services spokesperson Kerry Williamson, in an email Tuesday.

Information published on the AHS website indicates that additional measures are being implemented at these facilities. Measures include isolating infected people and instructing staff to use self-assessment tools to screen for symptoms. Visiting restrictions are also in place to help stop the spread of the virus.

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The latest outbreaks come as warnings are issued about the capacity of the province’s health system.

Emergency room doctors across Alberta recently warned that bed closures and increased demand on the province’s health care system could lead to problems with timely access for patients. COVID-19, along with mental health and drug addiction patients and people delaying treatment have all been blamed as contributing factors to the increase in demand.

On Tuesday, the opposition NDP issued a warning regarding the number of “red alerts” that EMS teams are undergoing in Calgary. The party released a statement saying that documents received in connection with access to information requests showed that the number of times ambulances were not available to answer a call increased by nearly 300% per compared to 2018 figures.

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Documents show that there were 3,569 red alerts in Calgary between June 2020 and May 2021.

“EMS is still under pressure, but it’s a new level. For families seeking emergency care in Alberta’s largest city, it’s downright dangerous, ”NDP health critic David Shepherd said in a statement.

Williamson said the red alerts don’t mean AHS isn’t available to respond to an emergency, but they are a tool to show where additional resources are needed. He said most of these alerts are up for a few seconds to a few minutes.

“Albertans can rest assured that when someone calls 911 for an ambulance EMS will always answer,” said Williamson. “AHS has increased the number of paramedics by 9% over the past two years, from 2,659 in 2019 to 2,891 in 2021 to date. “

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Williamson said the AHS continues to see an unprecedented number of calls due to several factors, including heat-related calls this summer and an increased number of opioid-related calls. He said all calling numbers are on the rise.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases continue to rise across Alberta, with a total of 629 new cases identified as of Tuesday. There are now 7,931 active cases in the province, the most since the end of May.

The Calgary area accounts for 2,422 of these active infections, slightly less than the 2,468 active cases in the Edmonton area.

There are 258 people being treated for COVID-19 in Alberta hospitals, including 57 in intensive care units. Calgary area hospitals are treating 83 COVID-19 patients.

A total of 2,355 people in Alberta have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

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In response to the growing threat of a fourth wave of COVID-19, the Alberta Medical Association released a statement on Tuesday calling on the provincial government to force healthcare workers to get vaccinated.

“We are launching a public call for compulsory vaccination of all healthcare workers,” WADA President Dr Paul Boucher said in an online statement. “As we look back on epidemics experienced in health facilities and face the prospect of a fourth wave with more contagious variants, mandatory vaccination of health workers is essential. This will help protect our patients, staff and colleagues. “

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