Quebec says no capacity to take on COVID-19 patients from Alberta

Quebec is not capable of receiving additional intensive care patients from other parts of the country as Alberta faces a COVID-19 surge pushing its health system to the limit, a spokesperson for the province’s premier said Friday.

“As we have clearly demonstrated in recent days, the health network is under pressure and our hospital capacity is very limited,” Ewan Sauves, a spokesperson for Quebec Premier François Legault, said in an email to Global News.

“The network is not currently equipped to take care of patients from other provinces.”

READ MORE: Alberta adds COVID-19 measures, vaccine passport in effort to prevent health-care system’s collapse

The response comes as the head of Alberta Health Services confirmed Thursday it is in talks and has received offers of aid from other parts of Canada, including Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador.

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With hospitalizations on the rise, Dr. Verna Yiu said she also had plans to reach out to Quebec to see if the province could help.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney declared a state of public health emergency on Wednesday, and introduced a wide range of measures amid a growing number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

Alberta is at risk of running out of medical staff and ICU beds in a little more than a week, according to Kenney. He said that the health network may not be able to provide adequate care to everyone who gets sick unless transmission of the virus is curbed.

Read more: No room in B.C. hospitals for Alberta COVID-19 patients, says province

As the country deals with a fourth wave of the pandemic, Quebec isn’t the only province that is unable to take on patients from Alberta. British Columbia also said Thursday it doesn’t have the hospital capacity to do so.

Earlier this week, Quebec announced it is looking at solutions to curb its nursing shortage as hospitalizations continue to increase. The government estimates it is lacking about 4,000 nurses in the public health system.

with files from Global News’ Raquel Fletcher, Phil Heidenreich, Simon Little and The Canadian Press

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