Alberta / covid 19

Protecting the health-care system from Omicron peak

News Release
Protecting the health-care system from Omicron peak

Alberta is taking immediate actions to protect Albertans and health-care system capacity as hospitalizations from COVID-19 rise.

COVID-19 hospitalizations have surpassed any other time in the pandemic. Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services (AHS) are building bed capacity, implementing community responses and maximizing the workforce as part of contingency planning.

“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 health-care system respond to the growing demand rising Omicron cases will bring. 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 health-care system cope.”
Jason Kenney, Premier

“While we have the ability to scale up operations to respond to surges of hospitalizations, we need Albertans to do their part in reducing their risk of needing care in the first place. The best way Albertans can help is to follow all public health measures in place and get vaccinated with whatever dose they are currently eligible for.”
Jason Copping, Minister of Health

“The recent surges in hospital and ICU cases, coupled with the fact that we are seeing more of our own health-care workers become sick or have to isolate, means that our health-care system is facing yet another serious challenge. I remain grateful to our incredible teams who continue to provide quality care so that we can meet this challenge.”
Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO, Alberta Health Services

Building bed capacity in non-ICU and ICU settings

Existing beds are being allocated for COVID-19 care and additional beds are being opened in some locations as needed. Starting Jan. 24 or sooner, if required, some beds in pandemic response units will be opened at the Kaye Edmonton Clinic (KEC) in Edmonton and South Health Campus (SHC) in Calgary.
Beds will open as needed to add additional capacity.
Patients moved to a pandemic response unit could be recovering from COVID-19 and deemed to be at low risk of transmitting the virus or be patients with less complex health-care needs.

Implementing community response plan

AHS is working closely with Primary Care Networks to provide community resources for those managing their illness at home.
AHS and PCN partners have opened or are planning virtual call-in lines or COVID-19 clinics in select communities that will be available to screen, assess and appropriately direct people with mild and moderate COVID-19 symptoms. 

Maximizing availability of workforce to support patient care

Alternate team-based care models are being implemented across the province as necessary.
This means that instead of individual health-care providers caring for a smaller number of patients, a team that has a complete skill set and relevant experience collectively cares for a larger group of patients.
A total of 610 nursing students have joined the AHS team and will work and get educational credit for assisting through this wave.

Get vaccinated

Albertans are encouraged to do their part to protect themselves and others from severe outcomes by getting every vaccine dose that they are eligible for. Appointments can be booked online with participating pharmacies or AHS by using the Alberta vaccine booking system. Albertans can also call 811, participating pharmacies or participating physicians’ offices.

Related information

AHS COVID-19 Self-Care Guide


Watch the news conference


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