EDMONTON – Alberta’s chief doctor says the Edmonton sports facility is being set up as another hospital with help from the Canadian Red Cross.
Chief medical health officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw says Alberta Health Services and the national charity are placing 100 patient beds in the Butterdome multi-purpose area at the University of Alberta.
“It will take a few weeks to set up the care center,” Hinshaw told a news release on Wednesday.
“There is no plan for the staff of these beds unless they are needed,” she said. “This is just a precautionary measure to use if needed in the future.”
Another hospital site was previously established at the Peter Lougheed Center in Calgary to help with a spike in COVID-19 cases, but it has not been used.
The province reported 1,270 new infections of COVID-19 on Wednesday, one of the lowest daily counts in more than two weeks, and 16 more deaths.
However, the province continued to lead the country with the daily disease rate of 258 people per 100,000 population.
Alberta Health said 749 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, 139 of whom were in intensive care.
The province began administering doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 to health care workers Tuesday.
Hinshaw said she understands that a new vaccine can cause anxiety and issues.
“Canada has one of the strongest regulatory systems for new vaccines in the world. Health Canada moved swiftly through the licensing process but no steps were taken, ”she said.
“I believe the benefits of vaccines far outweigh the risks and that this vaccine will save lives. When it comes to your chance, get vaccinated. ”
Hinshaw also made another appeal to people aged 20 to 39. She said that young adults are not the only reason behind the recent rise in diseases in Alberta, but that they need to know that they are at risk.
She said more than 32,000 Albertans in that age group have contracted the virus, resulting in 380 hospitalizations and eight deaths.
“To illustrate this, if you collected all 20- to 39-year-old Albertans tested with COVID-19, they would fill the Saddledome in Calgary, the Centrium in the Red Deer and the Enmax Center in Lethbridge, ”said Hinshaw.
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“This virus does not discriminate.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on December 16, 2020.