Alberta is one of the prairie provinces in Western Canada. Their COVID situation is so dire now that Armed Forces nurses and Red Cross personnel are being sent in to support overwhelmed staff, over-full ICUs and huge long wait lists.https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-covid-19-cases-september-data-1.6197781
“September was arguably Alberta's worst month of the COVID-19 pandemic, provincial data suggests.
“More Albertans tested positive for COVID-19 than in any month prior, and records for hospital and ICU admissions were set. Deaths in September also spiked, making it the deadliest month since January 2021.
“Driving this situation was the infectious delta variant, insufficient public health measures, delayed government action and low vaccination rates, said Craig Jenne, an associate professor of microbiology, immunology and infectious diseases at the University of Calgary.
"When we backed off restrictions, the virus was able to exploit that and really move quite quickly through the unvaccinated," said Jenne, referring to the lifting of restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings, capacity limits and masks.
“Alberta reported 45,665 COVID-19 cases last month, accounting for more than 15 per cent of all known cases in the province since the pandemic began.
“The most deaths in a single month were 736 in December, which recorded a similar number of new cases to September.
“Jenne said the efficacy of vaccines made the difference in the lower number of deaths.
"In areas without vaccine coverage, this delta variant is really causing havoc. And tragically, we're losing lives at a rate that's extremely disturbing over the last couple of weeks here in Alberta."
On Sept. 15, as active cases reached 18,641, [Premier] Kenney declared a public health emergency, introduced multiple public health measures, announced a proof of vaccination program and apologized for the government's handling of the fourth wave [his “we’re open for summer” approach which led to the current crisis in health care due to rampant spread of the virus and variants].
“As of Sept. 30, 74.5 per cent of Albertans aged 12 and up have received two doses of vaccine; 83.8 per cent have received one jab.”
I note that 74.5% may sound OK but with COVID-19 and its variants the experts are saying a much higher % of population needs to be vaxxed for the good of all (as with other highly communicable and potentially severe diseases such as measles).
“Jenne suggests the key is for more Albertans to get vaccinated. In the short term, he said, they should consider being more cautious than the public health measures require, because those measures "are the bare minimum."
Pretty poor report card for the Alberta government, that even in the midst of a major and deadly fourth wave their public health measures are still just “the bare minimum”. If the provincial government would acknowledge they need much more help, more resources from the federal government could kick in. It will be interesting to see what the fallout is for this recalcitrant premier. Most unfortunately though, that involves more people dying needlessly as he waits and waits and waits and ...
Here’s another article about the situation:https://globalnews.ca/news/8239936/alberta-military-aid-covid-19/
“Critical care nurses are set to arrive in Alberta on Monday — reinforcements sent by the Canadian military in an effort to help the province’s drowning medical system.
“The Canadian Red Cross is planning to provide up to 20 medical professionals with “some intensive care unit experience” to augment or relieve existing staff working in Alberta hospitals.
“These contributions may help us to staff four or five additional ICU beds,” the premier said, noting that every little bit helps.
“Dr. Darren Markland, an intensive care physician, said this move does not address the problem of hospitals being overrun and surgeries being an “afterthought.”
“Danielle Larivee with the United Nurses of Alberta said though she can’t give enough thanks to those coming to assist on the front lines, the reality is that there would need to be hundreds of nurses sent to the front lines to make a difference.
“It’s very welcome, but it’s not enough. We need to stop the flood of ill people into the hospitals,” Larivee said. “Our health-care system is actively collapsing.”
“Short term, this is appreciated. In the long term, we don’t see an end to this with the way it is now. We need to stop community spread,” Larivee said.”
Meanwhile, there’s a mom in Alberta with a young son needing emergency surgery for a severe seizure disorder. His meds will only partially help for a short period of time. His surgery is on hold because COVID patients are filling up the hospitals. There’s not enough space and too few physicians to care for all the other patients. There are also not enough nurses to care for post-surgical patients.
How can people still deny the reality or severity of the COVID pandemic, I wonder, when situations like this arise. Are the armed forces complicit in a fraud? The Red Cross? All the medical staff in the province? So very highly unlikely as to be a ludicrous idea.
One can only hope the day of reckoning will arrive when those most responsible are held accountable. Meanwhile, that doesn’t help the suffering people, including kids.
The mom with the young son says “It [the situation] makes us really sad. I would have hoped that people in our community would have stepped up and realized that this isn’t just about them, it’s about our community as a whole. It’s not just about the individual but together we have a responsibility to uphold, to each other and to our community. I challenge people to step outside that mindset that it’s about me and about my rights to it is my responsibility to help our community and to help all the people in our community so that people who need therapy can receive it. I urge people to make a choice that is going to benefit all of us.”
Again, the spectre is raised of medical staff having to triage, choosing who gets the care they need and who has to wait. It’s definitely turning into a seriously challenging issue: which patients with which conditions get priority care and who has to wait, with potentially dire outcomes.