A group of 65 infectious disease physicians from Alberta wrote an open letter on Monday calling on the province to immediately require proof of vaccination to access indoor public places.
The call came as COVID intensive care admissions hit an all-time high of 198 and AHS entered its second week of postponement of scheduled surgeries, affecting hundreds of patients.
Some of the cancellations included cancer and cardiac procedures.
CTV News asked for the total number of canceled surgeries in the province since their first announcement last week. AHS said Monday it did not have a number available.
“I think every time you start to see this level of postponement of surgeries and redeployments that we see, we know the situation is very, very serious,” said Dr. Leyla Asadi, infectious disease physician and the one of the signatories. . “[It means] the health system is in crisis and urgent action is needed.
She said there were no other measures showing signs of curbing the surge in COVID cases and the sharp increase in hospital admissions.
As of Monday evening, 803 people were hospitalized with COVID, nearly 80% of whom were not fully vaccinated. Among people in intensive care, this number rises between 90 and 95 percent depending on the day.
“What we need is real leadership. I think businesses are asking for it, healthcare workers are asking for it,” Asadi said. “The people of Alberta are asking for it. We therefore believe that urgent action is needed.
According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the average cost of treating a COVID intensive care admission in Alberta is $ 74,568. The average cost of a COVID hospitalization is $ 19,101.
Based on Monday’s totals, the cost of treating existing cases exceeds $ 26.3 million.
An Alberta doctor who teaches healthcare management at the Haskayne School of Business said that if people should have the right to exercise their freedom of choice when it comes to vaccination, they should be made to take responsibility for their decision .
“The rest of the taxpayers should not pay the price for the freedom of a very small number of people,” said Dr Mali Mansouri.
She added that the current cancellations come at a cost to patients, the healthcare system and the training of future medical workers.
She said it might have been the right decision given the situation in the province, but that she is borrowing in the future.
“I expect Premier Jason Kenney and decision makers from Alberta Health Services will have [. . .] more transparent communication with the public regarding the direct and indirect costs of COVID, “Mansouri said.” Also the cost that people who are not vaccinated create for society as a whole.
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