Army heads to Alberta as it combats fourth wave of COVID-19

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Hospital staff at the Peter Lougheed Center in Calgary wait to screen essential visitors for COVID-19 precautions on Thursday, April 9, 2020.

Jeff McIntosh / The Canadian Press

Public Safety Canada said a Canadian Armed Forces contingent should “be in position” on Monday to decide where to deploy eight critical care nurses who will help Alberta fight the fourth wave of COVID-19.

The federal agency also says the Canadian Red Cross plans to provide up to 20 medical professionals, some with intensive care unit experience, to augment or relieve existing staff working in hospitals in Alberta.

Premier Jason Kenney announced Thursday that the province is finalizing an agreement to recruit eight to ten Army critical care services specialists, likely based in Edmonton, to help in hospitals.

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He also said that up to 20 trained Red Cross medical workers, some with intensive care experience, would be deployed to central Alberta.

Alberta is facing a COVID-19 crisis that has seen well over 1,000 new cases a day for weeks while filling intensive care units to nearly double their normal capacity.

The province’s healthcare delivery agency has had to scramble and reassign staff to handle the influx of intensive care patients well above the normal capacity of 173 beds.

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