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Alberta doctors warn of health system collapse, plead for more COVID restrictions

Last Updated Sep 27, 2021 at 1:23 pm MDT

FILE (iStock Photo)

EDMONTON – Albertans are being warned by those on the front lines that we are closer than we’ve ever been to a disaster situation in intensive care units.

Dozens of ICU doctors with the Alberta Medical Association (AMA) have addressed a letter to the people, detailing the strain on them and saying measures being taken so far will not immediately solve the problem.

ICUs are currently running at 150 per cent capacity with staff being diverted from other departments to help manage the increase in patients.


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However, the doctors say the quality of care continues to diminish as the stress increases, and they call for additional public health measures to be put in place to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Latest numbers from Alberta Health show there are 312 ICU beds occupied in the province, and the vast majority of the patients are infected with COVID-19. Accounting for surge capacity — as more than twice as many beds have been opened up than we would normally see — the bed capacity sits at 83 per cent. But when comparing it to normal ICU bed numbers, the province is at 180 per cent capacity over the baseline.

An additional 38 surge beds have been opened up in the past seven days.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney recently told a Corus radio show that he wasn’t keen on the idea of adding more restrictions, as he believes they’d only punish the vaccinated.

Kenney said that the roughly 20 per cent of Albertans who refuse to get the vaccine are behind the fourth wave, and more lockdown measures would only end up being followed by responsible people who already did what they were supposed to do — get vaccinated.


 

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Doctors also encourage people to get vaccinated, as the doctors do not want to encounter unvaccinated people in already-crowded units down the line.

Last week, we heard doctors issue a warning that we are approaching triage territory where they have to choose who lives or dies.

The letter says we are closer to this reality than ever before.

660 NEWS reached out to the AMA to request an interview, but the organization said it could not accommodate due to how busy doctors are at the moment but they felt it was crucial to get this out to the public as soon as possible.