Alberta delays some non-urgent surgeries to add hospital space for COVID-19 patients

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EDMONTON — Alberta Health Services says some non-urgent surgeries will be postponed to add acute and intensive care space for COVID-19 patients.

Starting Monday, about 45 surgeries a week are to be delayed at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Grand Prairie to make room for a dedicated COVID-19 unit.

In the Edmonton zone, up to 30 per cent of non-urgent surgeries are to be put off as of next week

Alberta Health Services said the moves will free up space for patients who need a "higher level of care" and allow the public health provider to redeploy front-line staff and resources as it has done in previous waves of the pandemic.

The agency said about 96 per cent of delayed surgeries from the first, second and third waves were completed before the upcoming changes.

Daily COVID-19 cases in the province remain in four-figure territory. There were 1,168 new infections Friday for 9,655 active cases. Some 336 people with the virus were in hospital, including 74 patients in intensive care.

David Shepherd, health critic for the Opposition NDP, said the upcoming backlog is due to a "complete lack of leadership" from the United Conservative government.

“The UCP ignored every warning sign while telling Albertans they did not foresee a fourth wave. Now, it’s here," Shepherd said in a statement.

He called on Premier Jason Kenney and Health Minister Tyler Shandro to answer to Albertans.

"It’s time for them to come out of hiding and present a plan to protect the health of Albertans.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 27, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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