Edmonton

Alberta extends COVID-19 assistance to Manitoba, offering to take 10 intensive care patients

Alberta's system has enough capacity "to ensure that all Albertans needing this level of care are also cared for," according to a news release.

Patients could be transported here as soon as next week

Health-care workers inside a COVID-19 intentsive care unit at Winnipeg's Health Sciences Centre. (Mikaela MacKenzie/The Canadian Press)

Alberta is offering to help Manitoba with its critically ill COVID-19 patients as the third wave of the pandemic in that province continues to rage. 

Up to 10 Manitoba patients requiring intensive care beds will be cared for in hospitals either in Edmonton or Calgary, Alberta Health Services (AHS) said Wednesday in a news release.

Alberta's system has enough capacity "to ensure that all Albertans needing this level of care are also cared for," the news release added

As of Tuesday, a record 109 COVID-19 Manitoba residents were sick enough to require intensive care.

That number includes 37 patients who had already been transferred to hospitals in other provinces because there was no capacity to treat them in Winnipeg and Brandon.

Manitoba hit the peak of its third wave on May 22.

"The staff and physicians in our hospitals and across our health system have worked hard to meet the needs of patients throughout the pandemic," said Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro said in the release. 

"I know they are tired but I also know how deeply committed they are to caring for patients, and I know they will come through again."

It's not yet clear when the patient transfers could occur, although Manitoba doctors anticipate hospitalization numbers to begin to peak next week.

Any patients being transferred to Alberta would return home to Manitoba once they're stable, the news release said.

"Albertans will always be our priority," AHS president and CEO Dr. Verna Yiu said in the news release.

"We are fortunate to have such strong critical care teams in Alberta to be able to assist and support during this unprecedented time."

As of Wednesday's update, there were 435 people in Alberta hospitals with COVID-19, including 122 in ICU.

With files from Bartley Kives

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