Posted on May 14, 2021


LETHBRIDGE — AHS South Zone leadership announced yesterday that nurses and respiratory therapists are being pulled off other departments to cover the surging number of patients with COVID-19 in ICU.

In the email, it states “The staffing required to address COVID-19 case numbers in the South Zone and other vital health services such as vaccine clinics are having an impact on activity and capacity at Chinook Regional Hospital (CRH). 

“The prolonged and widespread draw on staffing means we need to deploy staffing from other areas to support the facility’s Intensive Care Unit.” 

Staff will be displaced for at least one month, and will result in a loss of 8 per cent of non-emergency surgeries and a loss of 30 per cent of cardio-respiratory outpatient services.

“This means our friends and family and neighbours will have to wait to get the healthcare they need,” said MLA for Lethbridge-West Shannon Phillips. “This strain on the Chinook hospital is the direct result of Jason Kenney’s policy of acting last and acting least.”

Alberta currently has the highest COVID-19 infection rate of any Canadian province or US state, and four times as many active cases as British Columbia.

Through a leaked internal memo from AHS it was also revealed that contact tracing is once again overwhelmed, and small business owners will be responsible for contact tracing and isolation instructions for their employees. 

“Yesterday, Jason Kenney and Tyler Shandro and Nathan Neudorf were not working to protect Albertans from COVID-19 or help small businesses. They were not trying to fix the contact tracing system,or stop the Chinook Hospital from being overwhelmed. They spent all day bickering on Zoom about internal UCP melodrama.

“We should be going back into the legislature to provide paid sick leave for all Albertans to prevent more cases. 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.