The Alberta Government has announced several actions to try and prevent any further strain of the medical system in the province amidst the Omicron wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The provincial government says the first change will see existing hospital beds get allocated for COVID-19 care, with additional beds being made available as needed in Edmonton and Calgary.
“Hospitalizations continue to rise, but we have the benefit of seeing how Omicron has played out in other jurisdictions…That is why we are taking decisive action now to help our healthcare system respond to the growing demand rising Omicron cases will bring,” says Premier Jason Kenney.
“While some 45 per cent of non-ICU Omicron hospitalizations are incidental, the growing overall numbers will impact our hospitals, so these measures are a common-sense strategy to help our healthcare system cope.”
Primary Care Networks across Alberta will also be partnering with Alberta Health Services to provide community resources managing COVID-19 at home. The partnership has or will lead to the use of virtual call-in lines or COVID-19 clinics in select communities that will be available to screen, assess, and direct people with mild and moderate COVID-19 symptoms.
Finally, the province says AHS will be implementing alternate team-based care models across Alberta as necessary, meaning, that instead of individual healthcare providers caring for smaller groups, a team of health professionals collectively cares for a larger group of patients.
The provincial government says approximately 610 nursing students have joined the AHS team and will work and get educational credit for assisting through this wave.