Wednesday, October 20, 2021
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ICU surge bed capacity increased again in AHS South Zone

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LETHBRIDGE, AB – The intensive care unit situation here in the South Zone remains a serious one.

Both Lethbridge and Medicine Hat are into surge capacity due to the number of predominately unvaccinated COVID-19 patients.

South Zone Medical Director, Dr. Aaron Low, who also an ICU physician at Chinook Regional Hospital, says there are 24 baseline ICU beds between the two cities and with surge capacity there are now 38 total.

“The reason we are OK from a bed perspective right now is because we have essentially shut down anything that’s not emergent or urgent in our hospital,” says Dr. Low.

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Dr. Low says it’s a painful and distressing situation for patients and for doctors and nurses who know there’s care they’d like to be giving, but can’t because they need to be focusing on ICU patients.

Over this past weekend, AHS South Zone confirmed another 526 new cases of COVID between Friday and Sunday, with 98 of those in Lethbridge alone and 142 in Medicine Hat. Across Alberta, the province recorded over 5,100 infections over those three days with an additional 23 deaths related to the virus. Alberta now makes up 36% all COVID cases in Canada.

Dr. Low also says contrary to some reports, there are ventilators available, adding no where in the South Zone or in Alberta, has a patient been denied a ventilator because of equipment shortages.

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Tina Karst

A Lethbridge College alumnus, Tina moved back to the community two years after convocation, in September 2007, to become a member of the CJOC News Team. She started as a weekend reporter/anchor and now serves as Associate News Director. When Tina’s not tracking down local news, she’s either busy at home with Jordan and their two kids or creating custom macrame pieces for a growing list of clients.

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