Alberta could see record hospitalizations for COVID-19 within 14 days, early warning system projections


Projections from Alberta Health Services’ COVID-19 early warning system suggest the current wave could send more people to hospital than at any time during the pandemic, in a matter of weeks.

A graphic showing the forecast for inpatient hospital beds – excluding intensive care beds – from the AHS COVID-19 early warning system was leaked on social media on Friday afternoon, AHS confirmed to CBC News.

The graph shows the actual number of hospitalizations that have occurred so far and three potential scenarios – low, medium and high. Projections showed 14 days into the future.

Hospitalizations outside the COVID-19 ICU in Alberta peaked at 868 on September 27, according to provincial data. But each projected scenario suggests that many more Albertans will be sent to hospital during the current wave.

As of Jan. 5, non-ICU hospitalizations stood at 448, the data showed. The early warning system’s low scenario predicts that this figure will more than double to 968 in two weeks.

The medium scenario suggests that the number of non-ICU patients could reach 1,278; the high scenario suggests that non-ICU hospitalizations could reach 1,541.

The Early Warning System is a tool used by AHS to forecast potential demand on the province’s health system and enable it to plan for those demand changes, according to a statement sent to CBC News through a door -speak.

“AHS continuously monitors and plans all eventualities to ensure that we can continue to care for patients and keep Albertans safe,” the statement said.

“Plans are in place to increase acute care capacity, with the right staff and resources when needed. The current projected need can be satisfied.

The best way to prevent hospitalizations is to follow public health restrictions and guidelines, stay home when sick and get vaccinated, the statement added.


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