Alberta will accept federal support to help protect the health-care system and the health of Albertans during the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Increasing hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions among unvaccinated Albertans continue to challenge the health-care system that all Albertans rely on. Currently, about 90 per cent of COVID-19 patients in intensive care are unvaccinated.
Effective immediately, the Canadian Armed Forces will deploy up to 10 ICU-trained staff and the Canadian Red Cross will deploy 20 ICU-trained staff with various levels of training to reduce the burden on acute care workers across the province. These teams will arrive in Alberta as soon as possible.
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador will send a team of five to six ICU-trained staff with further details to be announced.
Alberta’s government will continue taking difficult but necessary steps to ensure as many Albertans as possible can continue to receive treatment in province for urgent health needs.
“We will do whatever it takes to protect Albertans and the health-care system. The steps taken today will help increase our capacity and keep delivering care provincewide, and every bit helps. Alberta has been there for other provinces throughout COVID-19 and we are grateful for any assistance now,” explained Premier Jason Kenney.
“We will protect Albertans and ensure we can support those who need care, in province, as we face this fourth wave. We will continue to prepare for all scenarios but we ask all Albertans to help. If you’re not vaccinated, please reach out to a health-care professional to educate yourself and make the right decision. We are grateful for the support offered by the federal government and other provinces," added Jason Copping, Minister of Health.
As part of contingency planning, the Canadian Armed Forces will prepare to provide medical transport – this will augment Alberta’s existing capabilities. If Alberta needs to transfer its own patients out of province, Canadian Armed Forces will be ready to support within 48 hours.
Alberta’s government will keep Albertans informed if any additional offers of assistance are accepted.
The best way that Albertans can protect themselves and their communities from COVID-19 is by getting fully vaccinated.
Bookings for first and second doses are widely available across the province. Albertans can book appointments by visiting alberta.ca/vaccine. First- and second-dose walk-in clinics are available at multiple locations.
New vaccination policy for Alberta Public Servants
In addition, the Government of Alberta is implementing a proof of COVID-19 vaccination policy for all Alberta Public Service employees.
Employees will have until Nov. 30 to submit proof of full vaccination.
Employees who do not submit proof of vaccination will be required to obtain an accommodation based on the Alberta Human Rights Act or produce a negative PCR (molecular polymerase chain reaction) or rapid test result within 72 hours of every scheduled workday or shift, on an ongoing basis. Effective Dec. 14, these tests will be required and paid for by employees.
The Alberta Public Service will use a secured system to facilitate vaccination reporting and monitoring to ensure personal information remains confidential and secure.
To further protect employees and the public, the Restrictions Exemptions Program (REP) will be implemented in all eligible Government of Alberta facilities. This is consistent with other Alberta venues so that Albertans can continue to support local artists and businesses safely.
•Proof of vaccination will apply to approximately 25,500 Alberta Public Service employees.
•Starting Oct. 15, employees will be able to declare their vaccination status and submit proof of full vaccination (i.e. first and second dose). Employees will have until Nov. 30 to submit proof of full vaccination.
•Employees will be allowed paid time to receive immunization.
•Employees who do not provide proof of vaccination by the required deadline will be provided with additional education about the safety and efficacy of vaccines, in addition to the other testing requirements.