Monday, November 15, 2021
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South Zone not seeing same COVID ICU concerns as elsewhere in Alberta

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LETHBRIDGE, AB – There’s concern being expressed by doctors in Calgary and Edmonton that this third wave of COVID-19 is starting to take its toll on hospitals in those areas.

Despite what’s going in the province’s two biggest cites, that’s fortunately not the case here.

Dr. Aaron Low is the South Zone Medical Director and an ER physician at Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge. He says even with rising case numbers, this region isn’t facing the same hospital situation as elsewhere across Alberta.

“We do have plans for surge capacity,” says Dr. Low. “Right now, we’re carefully watching what’s happening in the province. I think we have less concern than other places. It’s almost like we saw the third wave earlier than other places (in Alberta).”

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One thing Dr. Low notes is that most people in Alberta ICU’s now suffering from COVID-19 are younger.

“This is very real to me because when I work in ICU, I see the heartache of it. These are people, mostly now in our ICU, these are patients who are younger than they were before. Because as you know our vaccinations have been quite successful in older patients,” Low stated.

As of Monday this week there were over 600 hospitalizations Alberta-wide related to COVID-19 with over 140 in ICU.

Dr. Low says AHS South Zone has “excellent plans” if there is an increase in the region in terms of the number of COVID patients. He notes our (South Zone) percent of increase in cases recently has not been as much as what has been seen in other places.

From an intensive care unit perspective there is capacity to increase beds in both Lethbridge and Medicine Hat if the need warrants. Dr. Low says it would take a” huge” increase though in cases to fill South Zone ICUs to capacity.

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Patrick Siedlecki

Pat has been a mainstay in the CJOC News department from the time the station launched in 2007. He’s been in the position of News Director since then and has been anchoring daily news casts as well as reporting and working behind the scenes.

Community is important to him and keeping CJOC listeners and readers informed about what’s happening across southern Alberta and beyond.

Pat has been in radio broadcasting for the past 24 years, starting in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island in 1997 and then moving up island to Nanaimo for another few years before heading to Lethbridge in 2007.

Pat grew up in the small Saskatchewan farming town of Foam Lake. After high school, he went to Western Academy Broadcasting College (WABC) in Saskatoon prior to moving to the island.

Pat also spent several years broadcasting hockey in the BCHL as well as seven years as the radio voice of the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL.

Pat has been working at Cornerstone Funeral Home in Lethbridge as a Certified Life Celebrant and Funeral Assistant since 2016.

News and sports have always been Pat’s passion from the time he was a teenager and he’s always been grateful to have had the opportunity to make that part of what’s been a fun and long radio career!

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