Alberta Health Services is ramping up for the anticipated peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, based upon two core models completed with Alberta case data.

Today, Alberta Health has released more details on how it is scaling up capacity by expanding the capacity of hospitals, opening up more acute care beds, ICU spaces, and ventilators.

Based upon the probable model, between 736 and 900 Albertans will be hospitalized by the end of May-early June, of which between 220 to 244 would require critical care. 

In the elevated model the peak in anticipated to occur in early May. Between 1,491 to 1,649 would be hospitalized, with 372 to 412 requiring critical care. 

AHS projects it will have 2,250 COVID-19 designated acute care beds available by the end of April, enough to meet the needs of either scenario.

As of April 3, 1,935 were available for COVID patients and expected to have another 65 available by Apr. 15. It anticipates being able to increase ICU capacity by 1,081 beds for COVID-19 patients by the end of April, if necessary. 

AHS anticipates having 761 ventilators available by the end of April for COVID-19 patients, Currently, 314 ventilators are dedicated to COVID-19 patients. The additional capacity will come by purchasing, repurposing and borrowing units.

AHS is aggressively are seeking to increase its stock of personal protection equipment by increasing the number of domestic and global suppliers and creating and working with local companies to increase the production of supplies (e.g. face shields, scrubs, gowns and hand sanitizer).

Based strictly upon current inventory levels, face shields and N95 masks are major targets for restocking.

The projections presented by Premier Kenny on major Alberta television networks last night indicate total cases range from 800,000 to one million infections, from mild and undiagnosed to detected, confirmed and treated under two provincial scenarios.

The model uses several key assumptions, including:

  • not all cases are detected;
  • transmission is more common within an age group, rather than between age groups;
  • there is no asymptomatic transmission;
  • people are infectious for 5 to 10 days;
  • all ICU patients require ventilation; and
  • overall 14 per cent of cases are hospitalized and 5 per cent require ICU, but this varies significantly by age. 

The models will be adjusted as more data is available.

The numbers projected highlight the importance of continuing aggressive countermeasures

Kenney says the existing public health orders could be in place until the end of May.