More health services for Albertans

 

Starting May 25, voluntary testing will be available in long-term care and level 4 designated supportive living facilities and Calgarians will be able to book COVID-19 tests online.

Non-urgent surgeries requiring a hospital stay will also resume next week. Maternity services resume at South Calgary Campus and High River Hospital on June 3.

About 27,000 residents and 44,000 staff in long-term care and level 4 designated supportive living facilities – those providing a higher level of support to people with more complex needs – can now be tested for COVID-19, if they choose, even if they have no symptoms. More testing for this most vulnerable population group will improve our ability to detect cases early, prevent possible outbreaks and keep people safe.

As Calgary sets to reopen more businesses as part of stage one of Alberta’s relaunch strategy, AHS will add an extension to the online self-assessment tool for the Calgary region, effective May 25. Symptomatic individuals within the zone will be able to book their own testing appointment if they live within 50 kilometres of an assessment centre and if the self-assessment tool indicates a test is required.

This additional feature will make it easier for people to schedule a COVID-19 test at a time and location that is convenient for them. This expansion will also provide public health officials with quicker access to testing information as we move forward through relaunch.

Non-urgent surgeries will expand to include more day surgeries and those requiring an overnight stay. These surgeries were put on hold to make sure the health-care system had capacity to help those affected by COVID-19. Albertans waiting the longest will receive care first. Patients will be contacted directly when it is time for their surgery.

Since day surgeries resumed on May 4, about 3,000 scheduled surgeries have been performed across the province. Urgent and emergency surgeries have been available throughout the pandemic.

“Albertans have done a great job of flattening the curve of COVID-19 infections and reducing the risk to the dedicated women and men working in our hospitals. As a result, we can safely resume providing more of the scheduled care Albertans need. I know the deferral of scheduled services has been hard on patients and families, but it was the right thing to do as part of our overall strategy to protect Albertans from the impact of the pandemic.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

Starting June 3, maternity services will again be offered at Calgary’s South Health Campus and the High River Hospital. Families had been accessing these services in nearby facilities. Services were consolidated on April 21 to make sure the region had space and resources to handle COVID-19.

“Patient safety is our top priority. We are extremely grateful to women and families for their patience during the temporary suspension of maternity services in south Calgary and High River. I want to assure families that hospitals remain a safe place for expectant mothers to deliver, and for mothers and newborns to receive care during the pandemic.”

Dr. Verna Yiu, president and chief executive officer, Alberta Health Services

Quick facts

  • Long-term care has the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 in all congregate (group) living settings in Alberta.
  • Up to an estimated 53,500 voluntary tests will be performed on residents and staff of long-term care and designated supportive living facilities.
  • Overnight surgeries include operations such as orthopedic surgery.
    • Some cardiac procedures have already resumed.
    • Decisions on which surgeries proceed are based on clinical need. The sickest Albertans and those who have waited longest will be booked first. These decisions are being made at the zone level and are also informed by the pandemic response in different parts of the province.
  • Maternity services in the Calgary zone were consolidated at the Foothills Medical Centre, Rockyview General Hospital and Peter Lougheed Centre on April 21.
    • Services to be reinstated on June 3 at South Health Campus in southeast Calgary include inpatient labour and delivery, NICU, postpartum and newborn care.
    • Services to be reinstated on June 3 at High River Hospital include inpatient maternal and newborn services.