Treating adults at children's hospital among options as Calgary prepares for surge of COVID-19 patients

·2 min read
Treating adults at children's hospital among options as Calgary prepares for surge of COVID-19 patients
Treating adults at children's hospital among options as Calgary prepares for surge of COVID-19 patients

Putting empty units into service and even sending adults to the children's hospital are among the options on the table as medical officials in Calgary make sure the health-care system can cope if there's an even larger surge of COVID-19 patients.

There are 207 Albertans now hospitalized with the virus — 43 of them in intensive care. That's the highest number yet.

In Calgary, 68 COVID-19 patients are being treated in hospital, with 13 in the ICU.

Dr. Peter Jamieson, the medical director at Foothills Medical Centre, says Calgary's ICUs are already operating at over 80 per cent capacity and have been for a while.

He said he is concerned Calgary hospitals might have to postpone non-urgent surgeries if the situation worsens.

CBC
CBC

"I think we're all concerned that we may be close to that but there's no single magic number," he said.

Jamieson says if beds fill up, plans are in place to treat COVID-19 patients on hospital units not currently in use and in post-operative spaces, which already have much of the necessary equipment in place.

If it becomes necessary, COVID-19 patients could also be sent to the temporary emergency field hospital constructed earlier this year in a parking lot at the Peter Lougheed hospital.

AHS also has contingency plans in place to send adult patients to the Alberta Children's Hospital, and even some other contracted health spaces such as rehabilitation facilities, if the situation becomes extreme.

Jamieson stressed, however, that such moves aren't yet necessary.

"I'm comfortable that we're operating within our current facilities at the moment. And I'm completely confident that everybody is getting safe and appropriate care," he said.

"So we have a number of options and we're calmly preparing to use them if we need to."

He said he hopes Calgarians will follow public health measures to lessen the burden of rising cases.

Dr. Charles Wong, an ER doctor and medical director of Calgary's urgent care centres, says the hospitals are coping — for now.

"The scenarios range from being very sustainable, very manageable as it has been for the last seven or eight months, to very unsustainable if the community cases begin to exponentially grow," he said.