Alberta will remove patients from the acute care hospital bed to make room for others suffering from COVID-19, Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced on Thursday.
Patients leaving hospitals will be cared for at home and in ongoing facility-based care, Shandro told a news conference.
The province, working to cope with the fourth growing wave of the pandemic, will provide up to $ 36 million in new funding to improve wages and create additional workforce capacity to allow more Albertans to take care abroad hospitals, said Shandro.
He said $ 22 million will be used to increase the salary of health care assistants working in contracted agencies.
The money will provide a salary increase of $ 2 per hour for the next 13 months. Another $ 14 million will be used to expand the workforce capacity to support home care and continuing care facilities by March 31st.
“Health care assistants, it should be noted, are the main continuing care workforce,” Shandro said.
More than 400 Albertans are currently in hospital waiting to be relocated to continuing care facilities while others wait to return to their homes.
Dr Verna Yiu, president and CEO of Alberta Health Services (AHS), said about 200 of the hospital patients could be relocated within the next week or two.
“By providing this incentive fund and providing more home care staff, we hope we can actually improve the flow within the hospital to allow for an increase in capacity,” Yiu said.
Shandro said many operators of ongoing care facilities arestruggling with staff shortages. The additional funding will allow AHSto work with them to find ways to make current staff more available and deploy new staff in areas that need more assistance.
“The hospital is just the right place to take care of as long as you really need to be there,” he said.
LOOK | Dr. Hinshaw says vaccines critical to preventing death, serious illness:
Shandro said the government is exploring all options to increase capacity in the healthcare system.
“We know there is a lot of work ahead of us. But with the fourth wave set up and the healthcare system facing this fourth wave, now is the time to move forward with some of these important measures that will improve capacity immediately. “
1,510 new cases, 9 new deaths
Alberta reported 1,510 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, breaking the infection mark of 1,500 teens for the first time since May. New cases were detected in about 13,800 tests with a positivity rate of about 11 percent.
Nine new deaths were reported, bringing the total number of the province to 2,434.
Dr Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said “many more deaths” recently in Alberta demonstrate the continuing importance of immunizations.
“Vaccines, like all other medical interventions, are not perfect,” Hinshaw said. “What they can offer, however, is a high level of protection against infection and an even higher level of protection against severe outcomes.”
In the last four months, 84 percent of all those who died from COVID-19 have not been fully immunized, Hinshaw said. Some major infections are occurring in people who are fully immunized, and in some cases they have led to serious consequences, including death, she said.
“Most of these severe outcomes have been in those who are older, have multiple medical conditions, and that is why we have implemented a third dose for those with immunodeficiency conditions, and for all residents in the facilities of ongoing care for the elderly. “
679 in hospital, including 154 in ICU
Hospital admissions for COVID-19 also continue to rise in Alberta.
There are now 679 people being treated in hospital with COVID-19, up from 647 on Wednesday.
There are 154 people being treated in intensive care beds for COVID-19. About 89 percent of patients in the ICU are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
Active cases in Alberta are now up to 15,977. Here is how active cases in the region are broken down:
- Edmonton Area: 4,783.
- Calgary Zone: 4,417.
- Northern Zone: 2,900.
- Central area: 2,212.
- Southern Zone: 1,636.
- Unknown: 29.
Switch to premature ‘endemic’, Hinshaw admits
Hinshaw said Thursday her recommendations in the spring and early summer for the best way to treat COVID-19 were based on what she thought would be most beneficial to the overall health of Albanians.
“Arlysht is clear, the transition to endemic was very early,” she said. “We saw early signs of this in early August when we saw trends that were not the same as our modeling predicted.”
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