Calgary hospitals are struggling to keep up with medical care after a huge spike in influenza and norovirus cases has put undue pressure on resources.

Reports say that 11 elective surgeries have been cancelled as a result of flu outbreaks and hospitals have been pushed to over 100 percent operating capacity.

With a surge in flu and norovirus cases, there is even more pressure on staff and facilities.

AHS says in a release that they are taking steps to ease the pressure on capacity including:

  • providing Home Care resources to facilitate discharge
  • prioritizing placement in Continuing Care sites at hospitals that are most affected
  • sending stable, out-of-province patients back to their home province
  • opening temporary bed spaces.

“We are doing all we can to ensure Albertans continue to have access to the health care they need,” said Dr. Francois Belanger, Senior Vice President and Medical Director, Calgary Zone.

Occupancy is above 100 percent in major hospitals in the area and well over 100 percent on medicine units.

Officials say that, at this time, it is important for Albertans to play a role in protecting themselves from illness.

They say that most cases of influenza-like illnesses can be managed at home, through self care.

By staying at home, patients reduce the risk of spreading the illness and also reduce the pressure on medical staff.

“Emergency Departments will never turn away those who need treatment,” said Dr. William Dickout, Medical Director, Edmonton Zone. “We are looking to Albertans to educate themselves on the options available for their care to ensure they get the care they need quickly, and also to help reduce the pressures on our EDs during this season.”

Health authorities say the best defence against the flu is with a flu shot.

You can find a list of clinics on the AHS website or by calling HealthLink.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing flu-like symptoms, AHS asks that residents refrain from visiting friends or relatives in hospitals, care faciliities, or senior lodges.