Alberta defers offers of medical help saying greatest need still weeks away
Premier Jason Kenney turned down an offer of up to 30 experienced medical staff from Newfoundland and Labrador, saying Alberta doesn't need them now, but may in the weeks to come.
"Premier Kenney said that the situation had evolved to the point where their predictive modelling would suggest that they wouldn’t require our resources at this time," said Andrew Furey, premier of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The premier's office said in a statement Tuesday "peak pressure on Alberta’s health care system was now more likely to be experienced in late October rather than late September as earlier projected."
During an afternoon availability, the premier said while the offer is welcome, the province's health care system doesn't need the extra staff just yet.
"I think we need to be very realistic in our expectations that we would be talking about a small number of people," Kenney said.
"We would be happy to receive that support," Kenney added, before making a joke. "In fact I think they are most interested in sending people to Fort McMurray [...] Fort Mac is Newfoundland's second biggest city."
NOT YET AT A CRITICAL POINT
The government says the health care system is work king hard, but is not yet at a critical point. As of Tuesday, 1,100 people are in hospital with COVID with 263 in the ICU.
Sarah Otto with BC COVID modelling group and a professor at UBC said late October could the most difficult for Alberta since the pandemic began.
"You can easily get double those numbers if no further actions are taken and that means a lot more surge capacity, more beds have to be obtained for ICU," Otto said.
The Canadian Forces have also offered up to 10 personnel to help with medical needs according to the premier. That offer has also been deferred.
The premier again shied away from further measures to limit community spread, saying the most recent restrictions are still taking time to have an effect.
"If the advice we receive is that these measures have been insufficient to abate the case growth pressure and future hospitalization pressure," Kenney said.
"We will take additional measures I cannot predict what those would be.”
SWEEPING THE UNVACCINATED
He went on to say the current surge is sweeping the unvaccinated, who he says are the least likely to obey public health orders.
For more than three weeks the province has been cancelling all but the most urgent surgeries, affecting hundreds of patients.
When asked what he says to the health care workers who work to save the critically ill, who phone the families of the deceased while working to the brink of physical collapse, premier Kenney had this to say:
"I say a huge word of profound gratitude that I know all Albertans feel for frontline health care workers as they're operating under extreme pressure. And just as health care workers in many parts of the world have gone through bone crushing pressure over the course of the past 18 or 19 months," Kenney said.
"I hope we all have a newfound sense of gratitude for the work that they do," he added. "We have given AHS all of the support that it needs. There's not a lack of resources."