EDMONTON -- Alberta Health Services has implemented new restrictions for hospitals in the capital region.

On Thursday, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced Edmonton zone hospitals will postpone non-urgent surgeries due to the rise in hospitalizations and health care workers forced to quarantine.

Alberta hospitals have 112 patients with COVID-19, including 18 people in intensive care. Multiple hospitals in the Edmonton and Calgary zones have outbreaks.

Dr. Lynora Saxinger, an infectious disease expert, told CTV News the healthcare system is preparing for “an influx of cases.”

To ease the strain on frontline workers and focus on the coronavirus, AHS decided to postpone 30 per cent of surgeries — about 600 a week — and some ambulatory care clinic visits, spokesperson Kerry Williamson said. Urgent, emergent and cancer surgeries will not be affected.

“AHS is taking these measures to ensure that we are able to provide care to those who most need it,” Dr. Hinshaw said, adding she's “very concerned about the rise in numbers."

The province is at 88 per cent of pre-COVID-19 surgical capacity and there are 73,000 Albertans waiting for surgery right now, AHS said.

The Edmonton zone has 1,751 of Alberta’s 3,651 confirmed active cases of the coronavirus.

“I find these numbers extremely unacceptable and very worrisome,” Dr. Saxinger said.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Bill Fortier