Up to 30 per cent of non-urgent surgeries in Edmonton to be delayed in COVID-19 response

Alberta Health Services is postponing non-urgent surgeries in the Edmonton zone and Grande Prairie to create additional acute and ICU capacity as hospitals see increasing demand and COVID-19 cases rise.

Alberta Health Services also postponing elective surgeries in Grande Prairie

AHS service adjustments are being planned in the Edmonton and North zones. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Alberta Health Services is postponing up to 30 per cent of non-urgent surgeries and procedures in the Edmonton zone as it tries to cope with increasing hospitalizations of patients with COVID-19.

In a news release Friday, AHS said it is taking steps to create more acute-care and intensive-care unit capacity.

The postponements of surgeries and procedures in the Edmonton zone will start Monday.

In addition, about 45 elective surgical procedures per week will be postponed at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Grande Prairie. 

AHS said the move is to ensure there are the appropriate beds and resources available to take care of patients needing care, including COVID-19 cases.

It is intended to free up space in hospitals for patients needing a higher level of care and allow health-care workers and resources to redeploy to areas of greatest need.

In Grande Prairie, it will allow the hospital to create a dedicated COVID-19 unit.

"This proactive approach mirrors similar surgical reductions during previous waves," AHS said in a news release.

"AHS will maintain emergent, urgent procedures, as well as prioritized cancer surgeries."

Alberta has seen a rise in active and daily new COVID-19 cases as Canada weathers a fourth wave.

COVID-related hospitalizations in Alberta continue to grow each day. As of Friday, there were 336 people in hospital for the disease including 74 in ICU.

There are now 9,655 active cases in the province, with the Edmonton region leading all other health zones.

AHS said in its release it is working through the province's surgical backlog and has been operating at 100 per cent of pre-COVID-19 surgical levels for the last two months.

"All backlogged surgeries in wave one have been rebooked and 96 per cent of all delayed surgeries from wave one, two and three have been completed," it said.


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