Posted on Dec 1, 2020


EDMONTON - Alberta’s NDP has obtained internal modelling from Alberta Health Services that shows increasing strain on Alberta hospitals and specifically intensive care units. The data was provided by healthcare workers after the Premier rejected repeated calls from the Opposition for it to be released. The Premier claimed on more than one occasion that such projections did not exist. 

According to slides from the AHS Early Warning System (attached to this release), public health officials project as many as 775 Albertans to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 by December 14, and 161 of them to be in the ICU. The data reveals that Intensive care usage has actually tracked higher than the worst-case AHS modelling from earlier in November.

“The Premier went into hiding when he should have been taking action to slow the spread of COVID-19 and ease the massive strain on Alberta hospitals,” said Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley. “Now, we have frontline physicians warning they will soon face the horrific scenario of triaging patients and deciding who to save. We have hospitals in Calgary with oxygen shortages and we have photos surfacing online of two ICU beds being crammed into a space suitable for one.”

On Monday, Alberta reported the highest rate of COVID-19 infection in Canada, and Kenney finally said he would release “detailed numbers with respect to healthcare capacity in the coming days” as acute care capacity broke the 70 per cent threshold and reports of an oxygen shortage in Calgary hospitals came forward. 

“Cases were spiking and beds were filling at the exact time the Premier went missing,” said NDP Health Critic David Shepherd. “Behind these numbers are hundreds of Albertans fighting for their lives, and yet Jason Kenney has failed to take simple steps such as implementing a province-wide mask policy, hiring enough contact tracers, or adequately containing the spread of COVID-19 in long term care centres.”

The AHS system also reports the effective reproduction rate of the virus, or R value, and the sources of infection. The data provided and attached to the release also shows clear evidence of the collapse of Alberta’s contact tracing system as the vast majority of cases have had the source tagged as “missing” since the beginning of November.