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Data shows strain on QEII Hospital ICU

The Intensive Care Unit at the QEII Hospital is about 15 per cent busier than its normal average capacity. That’s what’s shown in data sent by Health Minister Tyler Shandro in response to a request from the City of Grande Prairie to show the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on local healthcare.

It shows an average occupancy in the ICU and Critical Care Unit of 93 per cent in December 2020 and 116 per cent in January 2021. Pre-pandemic, the ICU occupancy ranged from 75 to 85 per cent.

The data also shows peak utilization rates as high as 150 per cent during what was considered the “peak” of the second wave of COVID-19. Overall, the hospital is experiencing between 97 and 101 per cent occupancy in all other adult inpatient spaces.

Alberta Health says to cope with the capacity issues, they are using what they call “flex” rooms. They are spaces in the hospital that are safe and ready for patient use but are not traditionally counted as part of the hospital’s normal capacity and are used when patient capacity is above 100 per cent.

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The ICU at the QEII Hospital is one of two in the entire AHS North zone.

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