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COVID-19: Maternity ward patients limited to one on-site support person at Alberta hospitals

Click to play video: 'Alberta’s overwhelmed hospitals alter care amid COVID-19 crisis' Alberta’s overwhelmed hospitals alter care amid COVID-19 crisis
COVID-19 patients are filling Alberta hospitals and placing unprecedented stress on ICUs. Heather Yourex-West reports on how health-care workers are changing the way they deliver care, and how Calgary has now mandated vaccine passports. – Sep 23, 2021

As COVID-19 cases continue to overwhelm Alberta hospitals, Alberta Health Services is making changes to the number of visitors those on maternity wards can have.

“To manage the escalating impact of COVID-19 at our hospitals, we’ve made the difficult decision to reduce access to one designated support person on-site with a patient in the maternity unit,” AHS said in a series of tweets on Thursday.

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The change will be implemented at hospitals across the province over the next four days.

“These adjustments are necessary to protect the health and safety of our patients/staff and to support patient care as we manage capacity challenges,” AHS said.

“COVID-19, particularly the Delta variant, is highly infectious and pregnant individuals are at a higher risk of severe outcomes.”

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Requests to have two support people will be granted on a case-by-case basis, the health authority said.

“We know it’s important for patients to have their loved ones present at this time, however, we recommend patients, family and friends stay connected virtually or by phone, whenever possible, rather than in-person,” AHS said.

AHS said support people are not to enter the hospitals if they have COVID-19 symptoms, or if they’re a close contact of a positive, or possible positive case.

Read more: ‘We weren’t thinking about other people’: unvaccinated Alberta man on his time in ICU with COVID-19

Hospitals that have outbreaks or are in watch scenarios may have additional restrictions, and people are advised to contact individual hospitals before visiting to be sure.

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As of Wednesday, 1,084 were being treated in hospital for COVID-19, with 268 in ICU beds.

As of Thursday at 12:30 p.m., there were 373 ICU beds open in Alberta, with 200 of them being additional surge beds added to accommodate treatment of COVID-19 patients. Twenty-two of those spaces have been opened in the last seven days, AHS said.

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