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Surgeries postponed as COVID situation becomes more dire

Last Updated Sep 3, 2021 at 7:59 pm MDT

EDMONTON – Alberta’s rising COVID-19 case count has forced healthcare staff to postpone surgeries in the province.

As many as 30 per cent of scheduled surgeries in the Calgary Zone are being moved to a later date as well as endoscopies and outpatient visits.

The North Zone is taking the biggest hit, with 60 per cent of scheduled surgeries being postponed there, while the Edmonton Zone will see about half of scheduled surgeries pushed back.

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“These surgical postponements will help free up space in our hospitals for patients who need a higher level of care, and support redeployment of frontline staff and resources to areas of greatest need,” AHS said in a release.

“AHS is also asking all part-time and casual staff who are available to take extra shifts to please do so. Staffing has become the critical issue in this wave of the pandemic.”

Alberta Health Services says it will maintain urgent and emergent procedures, as well as prioritized cancer surgeries.

Anyone affected by this will be contacted directly.

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In addition, five beds will open at Calgary’s South Health Campus’ Pandemic Response Unit (PRU) for day medicine patients.

AHS says the Edmonton Zone is also preparing the PRU at the Kaye Edmonton Clinic to potentially open in the coming weeks.

“Patients who are recovering from COVID-19 and are deemed to be at low risk of transmitting the virus would be treated at the PRU if that additional capacity is required,” AHS said.

The health agency is urging anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated yet to book their shots sooner rather than later.

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“This situation is serious, and we would like to remind all Albertans that we need their help in reducing the transmission of COVID-19 in the community, which in turn will reduce strain on the healthcare system,” said AHS.

The premier recently called the fourth wave of COVID-19 a crisis of the unvaccinated.

At least 80 per cent of COVID-19 hospitalizations are unvaccinated people and that jumps to 90 per cent in the ICU.