Toronto Star

Alberta doctors press government to strengthen restrictio­ns

ICU admissions top 200 to reach all-time high


CALGARY—Alberta doctors called on the government to restrict unvaccinat­ed people from indoor public spaces on Monday, as COVID-19 intensive care admissions reached an all-time high.

Numbers released by the province show 198 Albertans with COVID-19 were receiving intensive care — surpassing the previous record of 182 admissions in May. Alberta Health Services, as of Monday morning, said the number was even higher, at 202.

Alberta Health Services also said intensive care capacity was operating at 90 per cent with surge spaces added. Without additional surge beds, capacity would be at 148 per cent.

In an open letter, 65 intensive care physicians urged the United Conservati­ve government to take urgent action to protect the health system.

“It is our opinion that the current measures do not go nearly far enough to interrupt transmissi­on or reduce barriers to vaccinatio­n. It is also our opinion that the current state of health-care capacity in Alberta is so dire that waiting to see the results of current, less stringent measures will result in devastatin­g consequenc­es,” reads the letter. Over the weekend, the province recorded 4,740 new cases: 1,659 infections on Friday, 1,497 on Saturday and 1,584 on Sunday. Government data showed 803 Albertans were in hospital with the virus.

Alberta also continued to have the highest count of active infections in the country with 18,395. As health-care workers across the country battle a fourth wave of the pandemic, protesters rallied against public health restrictio­ns at various hospitals, including the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary and the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton.

In Calgary, dozens of people crowded a street corner where staff and patients entered the facility. With signs decrying vaccine passports and claiming abuses of human rights, some asserted they were protesting on behalf of front-line staff.

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