A panel of critical care medical professionals has written an open letter to the Prime Minister of Alberta, saying if he does not take immediate action there will not be enough health workers with the expertise needed to handle a spike in hospital admission and ICU admissions.
The letter, signed by about 50 intensive care physicians, ICU nurse practitioners and respirators from across Alberta, calls on Jason Kenny to introduce strong new measures to prevent the rapid development of a third wave of infections.
“It is a thing of the past for the Alberta government to undertake drastic public health measures similar to those implemented in the first waves,” the letter said.
“The reduction in the number of cases in BC, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec shows that success is possible when strong measures are implemented.”
The province reported 2,012 new cases and four more deaths on Monday. Across Alberta, 658 people are being treated in hospitals for COVID-19, of which 154 are in intensive care beds.
The state has the highest active case rate in Canada and the United States, at 518 active cases per 100,000 people – twice as high as Ontario’s 252.
Medical experts warn in the letter that if the spread rate is not reduced soon, there will be 300 to 320 Govt patients admitted to ICUs in Alberta by the end of May. It is expected that regular 150 to 174 non-COVID non-severe patients will require ICU maintenance.
“It’s easy to say we have the capacity to lift 425 ICU beds, but we do not have the staff to manage 425 ICU beds with the expertise needed to care for these really sick patients who are on many life support machines,” said a professor of critical care medicine at the University of Alberta. Said Dr. Noel Gibney, one of the signatories to the letter.
“What this means is that we are trying to control what is happening and quickly.”
Kenny signaled Monday that his government now believes new measures need to be taken. He is scheduled to address Albertance on Tuesday at 6 p.m., from the McDougall Center in Calgary.
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He said angrily that a large group of people had gathered over the weekend at a rodeo event in Botan, and this illustrated a persistent and disgusting problem – many Alberts simply did not follow the rules.
Health care providers argue that the increase in cases has been caused by high contagious variations, coupled with the easing of public health measures following the second wave of COVID and the current public health restrictions not being sufficient to slow the spread in the province.
Kirsten Feast, an epidemiologist at the University of Calgary, says she is concerned about Alberta’s daily number of cases, active cases and higher positive rates.
“When it comes to a positive rate of 12 percent or more and many cases coming from unidentified sources, it becomes very relevant, and since there are still many cases in circulation in the community, we can’t find them,” he said.