Alberta just saw its 500th death related to COVID-19.
Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced the eight new deaths at a livestreamed press conference on Wednesday, November 25, along with news of 1,265 newly detected cases and an active case count of 12,719.
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“This is a tragic milestone. My sympathies go out to the loved ones and friends of these individuals who are mourning the lives lost during what is a very difficult time to grieve,” she said.
“Though we have put new restrictions in place, I hope that everyone still seeks support, comfort and help in ways that are also safe from COVID transmission risk.”
Hinshaw also announced some new changed for the province’s healthcare system, stating that AHS is working to increase capacity for COVID-19 patients by over 2,000 acute care beds and up to 400 ICU beds across the province.
The capacity is being expanded both by bringing in brand new beds and by moving existing patients to open beds in other parts of the province and reducing non-emergency surgeries.
New visitor rules have also come into effect as of Wednesday for hospitals with outbreaks and for any falling within regions under enhanced status, with Hinshaw stating that only one designated family member or support person will be allowed to visit those admitted to hospital or ambulatory care (under specific circumstances), maternity and post partem units (though a doula or surrogate is also permitted), and for end-of-life situations, though the presence of any other visitors may be pre-arranged with the designated site or unit, depending on a number of factors.
Up to two designated family members or support persons will be permitted to visit patients in pediatrics, NICU, or critical care.
“We recognize that these restrictions are very difficult for patients, family, loved ones, staff, and physicians. But these temporary measures are being implemented to help reduce exposure and spread of the virus in AHS facilities,” Hinshaw said.