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Hospitals struggling as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations rise in Alberta: doctor


COVID-19 statistics saw an uptick in late April in Alberta — a development one doctor says is straining hospitals even more.

Cases increased by 21 per cent; the positivity rate grew by four per cent; and hospitalizations went up 28 per cent from the week before at the end of last month.

While cases and hospitalizations are nowhere near as high as the peak of the pandemic, an ER doctor told CTV News Edmonton hospitals are still feeling the strain.

"We are overcrowded, under-resourced, struggling to manage as many patients as we possibly can with limited resources, limited people, limited personnel," Dr. Warren Thirsk said, a doctor at the Royal Alexandra Hospital.

"I think that the system is so over capacity and under-resourced that any minor strain has a magnified effect on us and everyone else. I'm not surprised that we're having a spike in COVID."

Dr. Thirsk says patients are suffering, waiting as long as 14 hours in "deplorable conditions."

"We have traded resources for suffering. We've traded investment in the system for wait times, and those wait times come with suffering," Dr. Thirsk said.

He thinks immunization continues to be the best solution to keep COVID-19 at bay as much as possible.

Adriana LaGrange, Alberta's health minister, acknowledged the uptick in cases on Tuesday afternoon, but "it's not a huge amount."

LaGrange said her government and health officials are monitoring the situation in hospitals and that the province launched a spring immunization campaign for at-risk Albertans.

On Tuesday, the Opposition NDP asked the government to report COVID-19 data more often and to make decisions with the advice of the province's chief medical officer of health.

"We're worried about transmission in the hospitals, because that's where the cases are. And because there's overcrowding in our hospitals," NDP MLA Luanne Metz said.

"We need to be paying attention to what the risks are and how this is going to spread."

Seven hospitals had a COVID-19 outbreak as of April 30.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Chelan Skulski Top Stories

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