By Herald on May 14, 2021.
Dale Woodard – Lethbridge Herald
Lethbridge-West MLA Shannon Phillips said the province needs focused leadership to focus on critical problems facing Albertans today.
Responding to the latest postponement of surgeries at the Chinook Regional Hospital due to surging COVID-19 case numbers during a press conference outside the hospital Friday afternoon, Phillips pointed to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s mismanagement of the pandemic response.
In a release Thursday, Alberta Health Services stated “As part of our response to the third wave, AHS announced several weeks ago that it would be postponing scheduled, non-urgent surgeries at a number of hospitals across the province. This allows us to redeploy staff to priority areas, such as ICU. At Chinook Regional Hospital, approximately 30 scheduled, non-urgent surgeries will be postponed per week for the foreseeable future, or about eight per cent of normal volume.”
The statement said the hospital has a baseline of 14 ICU and critical care unit beds, which can accommodate COVID-19 patients, and has the capacity to expand further if needed.
As of Friday there were eight patients with COVID-19 in ICU at Chinook Regional Hospital. In addition, there are five patients without COVID-19 in the ICU.
“Any patients whose surgery is being postponed due to this temporary reduction will be contacted by Alberta Health Services. Our teams continue to contact and investigate all COVID-19 cases within 24 hours – this has been happening since January 9,” the statement reads.
Phillips said the situation means people in southern Alberta – be it family, friends or neighbours – will have to wait to get the help they need.
“So let’s be clear, the strain on the Chinook Regional Hospital is a direct result of the UCP and Mr. Kenney’s policy of acting last and acting least to contain COVID-19 and its effect on our healthcare system and our economy,” said Phillips.
Phillips noted Alberta has the highest infection rate of any Canadian province and anywhere in the United States and more than four times the number of active cases as British Columbia.
She also said they should be back in legislature on Monday to provide paid sick leave for all Albertans to prevent the spread and keep the economy moving.
“We should be providing WCB coverage for essential workers who get COVID in a workplace outbreak. We need focused leadership that is working on the critical problems that are facing Alberta families and businesses today,” said Phillips
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