ICU, critical care docs pen letter to Kenney begging for action to curb COVID-19 spread

EDMONTON – A group of Alberta physicians has sent an open letter to the premier, begging his government to take action and curb the spread of COVID-19.

Nearly 50 doctors, from ICUs and other critical care physicians and respirologists, signed the letter saying the virus’ spread in Alberta is rapidly sprialling out of control.

“Now that most older Albertans have received at least one dose of vaccine, we are seeing increasing numbers of younger patients who are more severely ill being hospitalized and admitted to our ICUs,” reads the letter.

“This will also result in thousands of Albertans suffering significant disability for months or years due to long-COVID. The increase in cases is due to the more transmissible variants, Alberta’s premature relaxing of public health measures following the second wave of COVID and the current inadequate public health restrictions to combat COVID transmission in the province.”

Doctors say modelling projections have been extremely accurate to date and indicate there will be over 300 COVID-19 patients in addition to the usual 150-174 non-COVID-19 ICU patients by the end of May if tougher health measures aren’t imposed.

“Although additional beds and equipment can likely be provided, it is highly doubtful that healthcare workers with the necessary expertise can be made available to staff the extra ICU surge beds and provide the level of care required by critically ill patients,” the letter continues.

“It is past time for the Government of Alberta to institute strict public health measures similar to those implemented in the first wave. The reduction in the number of cases in B.C., Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Quebec show that success is possible when strong measures are implemented.”

The doctors say failure to take action will undermine immunization efforts and crash the hospital system in the province.

-with files from Carly Robinson, CityNews Edmonton