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'We are desperate': ICU doctor says 'fire break' restrictions are needed to ease hospital overload


An ICU physician in Edmonton says more people are dying in Alberta from COVID-19 than other parts of the country because the province's hospitals have been overrun for so long.

Dr. Darren Markland is an ICU doctor and says the healthcare system is in desperate need of help.

"As a physician I take pride in my ability to deliver really good care, but our system is completely overwhelmed, and as a result we're seeing people who would have a chance to get through this if we had the time and resources to follow through," said Markland.

He says too many medical staff members are being put in positions they are not properly trained to handle.

"When you work at 180 per cent capacity and you do so for a prolonged period of time, things are going to start to break down," Markland said. "We are seeing damage that is being reflected in our mortality curves."

The physician says they have not implemented triage protocol yet, and the only way to ease the overload is to have the province implement a 'fire breaker' lockdown right now.

"We're too late for anything else, we've held on until the absolute brink," said Markland. "Now we're desperate, we are desperate, we need help."

Premier Jason Kenney said Tuesday that more time is needed to see what impact the newest restrictions have, and that stricter restrictions would be met with non-compliance by unvaccinated Albertans.

"We have put in place robust measures, provincial-wide mask mandate, capacity limits, restrictions on various kinds of discretionary activities, most importantly the Restriction Exemption Program which has helped substantially to increase vaccination coverage in the province," said Kenney.

"We will continue closely to monitor the situation and take additional measures if necessary."

Alberta reported 34 COVID-19 deaths Wednesday, 1,084 people are in hospital and 268 people are in ICU. Top Stories

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