Health officials are keeping a very close eye on hospital capacity as Alberta’s COVID-19 cases continue to surge, driving hospitalization numbers to a new high.
Between Friday and Monday, 961 new cases were identified in the province. Another 243 people tested positive on Tuesday.
Hospitalization numbers for COVID-19 are now the highest they’ve been since the start of the pandemic.
According to provincial data, Alberta hit an all time high on Monday with 102 Albertans hospitalized and 13 of those patients in intensive care. As of Tuesday, 100 people were hospitalized with 14 in ICU.
- Saturday: 98 people in hospital, 13 in ICU.
- Sunday: 100 people in hospital, 15 in ICU.
- Monday: 102 people in hospital, 13 in ICU.
- Tuesday: 100 people in hospital, 14 in ICU.
The recent numbers surpass previous peaks of 93 hospitalizations in July and 88 in April.
“We’ve seen an increase in acute care admissions in recent weeks,” Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said on Tuesday, pointing to outbreaks Calgary’s Foothills Medical Centre and Edmonton’s Misericordia hospital as key drivers of that increase.
The patients are concentrated in Alberta’s two major cities, with 48 of them in the Edmonton zone, 39 in the Calgary zone and the remaining 13 spread throughout other parts of the province.
“Forty-one per cent of our current COVID hospitalizations are due to acute care outbreaks. We are watching our province’s health system carefully to ensure that hospitalizations and ICU admissions remain within our province’s capacity,” Hinshaw said.
Alberta currently has 70 ICU beds dedicated to COVID-19 treatment. As of Tuesday, 14 Albertans were in intensive care.
Hospitalization numbers manageable for now
Doctors are tracking the number of hospitalizations closely as well.
“It’s concerning, for sure,” said Dr. Jim Kellner, a pediatrics infectious disease specialist with the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine.
“Certainly that number is meaningful and it’s significant. But it’s not pushing our capacity in hospital. When you look at the initial planning for peak capacity at that time, [the province] was looking at many hundreds of beds being occupied for COVID-19 patients.”
Kellner says the slow burn Alberta started seeing after the province began lifting restrictions is being replaced by a steeper rise in case numbers. And what happens in the next two to three weeks will be key.
“The question is, are we still going to be able to maintain this as a slow burn or — to use the other terms — are we going to head into a second wave with a big rise? Or will this be the other scenario of coming to a much lower peak that will then drop off again?” he said.
Even with the recent spikes, Kellner says Alberta is still faring better than other harder hit parts of the country.
“On a per capita basis, our hospitalizations have risen, for sure. But the level of hospitalization is still low. If you compare us some of the other places in Canada — most notably Quebec — our hospitalization rate and our severe outcome rate, like fatalities, is still much much lower,” he said.
Meanwhile, Alberta Health Services says it has plans in place to care for a substantial increase in critically ill patients. That includes stockpiling equipment such as ventilators and having enough trained staff on hand.
“At this point in time, we are able to accommodate the current demand for COVID-19 patients within our usual bed capacity. We have plans in place to increase our ICU capacity should the need arise,” a spokesperson said in a statement emailed to CBC News.
Despite the recent spikes, Alberta’s hospitalization rates have not yet met thresholds that would trigger further mandatory restrictions.
One such trigger is a cumulative increase of five per cent or more in hospitalizations over the previous two weeks.
According to Hinshaw, Alberta’s hospitalization rate has increased 3.8 per cent over that period.
Another statistic that officials are monitoring is ICU bed capacity. The province has said that if 50 per cent of the ICU beds allocated for COVID-19 are full, that would trigger further restrictions.
On Tuesday, 14 of the 70 dedicated ICU beds were full.
“[We are] watching those triggers very very carefully, making sure that we are monitoring the ability of our acute care system to manage new cases,” Hinshaw said.
“And, of course, having put these voluntary measures in place in the Edmonton zone — where we are seeing the majority of our new cases right now — as a measure to try and bend that curve down so that we don’t end up hitting those triggers, ideally.”
Source: – CBC.ca
Coronavirus: Manitoba reports record-breaking 543 new cases, 7 additional deaths | Watch News Videos Online – Globalnews.ca
Manitoba’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Brent Roussin on Monday reported a record-breaking 543 new cases of COVID-19 in the province and seven additional deaths. It is the highest single-day increase the province has seen since the pandemic began, breaking the previous record of 494 cases announced Nov. 15.
N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 15 new cases reported Monday, and another death – CBC.ca
Public Health is reporting 15 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, and another death.
Eleven of the new cases are in the Saint John region (Zone 2), three are in the Moncton region (Zone 1) and one in the Fredericton region (Zone 3), Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health, said at a news conference.
All 15 of the cases have been “identified and are isolating,” Russell said.
Seven people in New Brunswick have now died of the disease since the pandemic started. Russell did not say where the latest death occurred.
She urged residents to “please, wear a mask” and keep their close contacts low.
“We must all remain vigilant, there has never been a time when the risk was zero,” she said.
Enforcement of rules, and frustration with non-compliance
Premier Blaine Higgs said Monday that police and peace offers were enforcing compliance with the single-household bubble, mask-wearing, physical distancing and other rules in the orange zones on the weekend.
Thirty tickets were issued, he said, and at least one business in southeastern New Brunswick has been shut down after not following guidelines “for some time.”
Higgs also singled out for criticism those who are deliberately ignoring the rules.
“It is disappointing to hear that some people have not been giving their real names and contact information” when at businesses, he said.
“You’re not ‘beating the system,’ ” he later added. “You’re jeopardizing the health and welfare of maybe your neighbour, maybe your grandparents, maybe your parents.”
Atlantic bubble bursts
The Atlantic bubble has come to an end for now.
Both Newfoundland and Labrador and P.E.I announced Monday that they were leaving the bubble for at least two weeks as COVID-19 cases rise in parts of the region.
New Brunswick isn’t following suit, although Premier Blaine Higgs is asking people to be cautious about travel outside the province.
Higgs said during Monday’s news conference that he spoke with the P,E.I and Newfoundland and Labrador premiers Sunday night and the decision to leave the bubble was a “shared decision.” He expects it will be “a two-week closure.”
New Brunswick tightened restrictions in Moncton and Saint John last week as cases rose, and the province reported its highest ever single-day case count on Saturday with 23 new cases. As of Sunday, the province had a total of 77 active cases.
Employee tests positive at Stan Cassidy Centre
Horizon Health Network and New Brunswick Public Health are investigating a potential COVID-19 exposure at Horizon’s Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation in Fredericton.
As this is a high-risk situation, Horizon is declaring an outbreak at the Centre.
As of Monday morning, Horizon is restricting all visitors at the Centre and cancelling scheduled appointments until further notice after an employee tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday.
The employee is self-isolating, Horizon said in a statement.
Patients who were in contact with the employee when the employee may have been infectious had rapid testing for the respiratory virus Sunday.
Horizon said all affected patients have been isolated. And all staff who were in contact have had COVID-19 testing.
“As a precautionary measure, all other employees at the Centre will be tested for COVID-19.”
Effective Monday morning, all staff and physicians at the Centre will participate in active screening for COVID-19 symptoms.
Horizon Health said affected patients and families have also been notified.
Employee and 3 residents test positive for COVID-19 at Shannex
A Shannex official says the Parkland Saint John facility has activated its pandemic plan after one employee and three residents tested positive for COVID-19.
Clinical practice director and infection control specialist Lisa Snodgrass says all 371 residents and employees were tested.
And she’s been told those four were the only positive cases.
“We’re not sure how it got in,” she said. “But we are sure of what we can do to help prevent the spread and that’s what we’re focusing on right now.
Public health says the outbreak is at Tucker Hall.
Snodgrass says that’s a 90-bed licensed long-term care home on the Parkland Saint John campus.
Snodgrass said all residents are self-isolating as well as some employees – she declined to say how many.
Residents can normally move freely between the buildings, but under pandemic restrictions, she says most of the movement is limited to health care team members.
She says the investigation into cause of the outbreak is ongoing.
What to do if you have a symptom
People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online.
Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included:
A fever above 38 C.
A new cough or worsening chronic cough.
New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell.
In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes.
People with one of those symptoms should:
Manitoba posts record 543 new cases of COVID-19 – CBC.ca
Manitoba hit a new high for daily COVID-19 cases with 543 today — the first daily tally to top 500 — and seven more deaths, the daily bulletin says.
That puts Manitoba’s total cases so far above 14,000, meaning one in every 100 Manitobans has contracted the illness.
“It might be easier to just think of these as numbers, but these are Manitobans,” said Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin. “The list continues to grow and it’s very challenging to be reading every day.”
The majority of new cases — 368 of them — are in the Winnipeg Health region, which is a record. The previous high was 330 cases announced on Nov. 7.
The announcement comes about a week and a half after all of Manitoba went into code red, or critical, under the provincial pandemic response system.
Even more restrictions went into effect Friday, with gatherings no longer allowed inside homes, and no more sales of non-essential items in-store, following widespread closures of restaurants, bars and non-essential businesses.
4,700+ cases under code red
More than 4,700 new cases have emerged under code red, and Manitoba has struggled to alleviate the pressure facing hospitals.
Roussin said one promising sign that those restrictions are working is the average number of contacts of people who test positive is beginning to trend down.
There were 118 new cases in the Southern Health region, just shy of the record for that area. There were 27 cases in the Northern Health Region, 21 in the Interlake-Eastern health region and 12 in the Prairie Mountain Health region.
The death toll rises to 236, with five of the new deaths in Winnipeg and two in the Southern Health region. The people who died were age 60 to 100.
Nearly half of all reported deaths have emerged during code red, which came into effect Nov. 12.
The five-day provincial test positivity rate is 14 per cent in Manitoba, with a rate of 13.8 per cent in Winnipeg.
Record in hospital
A record 296 people are in hospital with the illness, with a record-tying 52 in intensive care.
Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer for Shared Health, said 96 of Manitoba’s 103 ICU beds are currently full, half of them with COVID-19 patients.
All but four days in the past month have seen record high numbers in hospital and the system is at or near capacity. Hospitals continue to add a few ICU beds every week, but Siragusa and Roussin have repeatedly stressed the demands facing the system can’t be sustained.
The surge has caused the province to postpone 901 non-urgent and elective surgeries in the past four weeks, she said.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 552 health-care workers and first responders have tested positive, Siragusa said.
Nearly 111,000 hours of sick time were logged in the past two weeks, up slightly from the two weeks earlier, and that equates to about 6,900 eight-hour shifts, Siragusa said. Much of the sick time is linked to workers in Winnipeg who are sick or isolating at home.
Roussin also addressed reports of religious gatherings taking place over the weekend in violation of current public health orders. He stopped short of confirming where in the province these gatherings reportedly occurred but said enforcement officers are investigating.
“These orders are here to save lives,” Roussin said. “We can’t have in-person gatherings. It puts Manitobans at risk.”
Calls for help at care home
There are hundreds of cases tied to care home outbreaks — nearly 30 such outbreaks have occurred so far — and rising case numbers across the province.
Some private care homes are facing staffing shortages due to workers testing positive and have resorted to asking family members of residents to come help feed and monitor their loved ones.
Siragusa said Monday that among those helping out at care homes are staff from the Victoria General Hospital, who recently began pitching in at St. Norbert Personal Care Home.
“I just want to thank everyone who has stepped up during this period of incredible need,” she said. “It’s a reminder that we all need to stick together in this time.”
About a quarter of all deaths are linked to two Winnipeg care homes. About 90 per cent of all deaths have been people over age 60, though two 30-year-olds and a 20-year-old died last week.
Since March,14,087 people in Manitoba have tested positive; over 70 per cent of all cases to date have emerged in the past month.
15 new COVID-19 cases in Huron Perth – BlackburnNews.com
Coronavirus: Manitoba reports record-breaking 543 new cases, 7 additional deaths | Watch News Videos Online – Globalnews.ca
A 2020 space oddity? Mysterious metal object found in Utah desert – cjoy.com
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Galaxy M31 July 2020 security update brings Glance, a content-driven lockscreen wallpaper service
- Health19 hours ago
Alberta reports more COVID-19 cases on Sunday than any other province – CTV Edmonton
- News21 hours ago
Canada Post calls in reinforcements to meet historic demand – CBC.ca
- Art24 hours ago
Art adrift: How a kayak and driftwood help this adventurer make beautiful art – CBC.ca
- Investment24 hours ago
Do Firm Capital Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust's (CVE:FCA.U) Earnings Warrant Your Attention? – Simply Wall St
- Sports20 hours ago
The Raptors’ loss of Serge Ibaka leaves a big hole, on the court and off – Toronto Star
- News24 hours ago
Toronto, Canada's largest city, put into lockdown as infections soar – CNN
- Art18 hours ago
Vancouver Art Gallery's fall lineup shows there's more to Victor Vasarely's universal visual language – Ubyssey Online
- Economy17 hours ago
The Economy: On The Other Side Of The Abyss – Forbes