AHS Facilities: ICU Updates & Temporary Space Reductions

This page is updated daily at 5 p.m.

Last Updated: October 20, 2021

This page provides an update on ICU capacity as well as information on temporary service reductions.

AHS continues to do all it can to increase capacity in our healthcare system, particularly in our ICUs where pressure is unprecedented. We continue to add more capacity wherever and whenever we can to address the impact of COVID-19 Wave 4. We need everyone’s help in easing the pressure on our healthcare system. Get immunized as quickly as possible, follow the public health restrictions, and stay home if feeling unwell.

Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Capacity

AHS continues to do all it can to ensure we have enough ICU capacity to meet patient demand, including opening additional spaces and redeploying staff.

We currently have 376 ICU beds open in Alberta, including 203 additional spaces (a 117 per cent increase over our baseline of 173).

There are currently 280 patients in ICU, the vast majority of whom are COVID positive.

While the number of patients in ICU fluctuates constantly, the number of patients in ICU has increased by 0.3 per cent over the past seven days.

Provincially, ICU capacity (including additional surge beds) is currently at 74 per cent. Without the additional surge spaces, provincial ICU capacity would be at 162 per cent.

Temporary Bed / Space Reductions

Unplanned, temporary bed reductions are not unusual for AHS - or any other health system - as beds are managed based on patient need, staffing levels, and acuity of patient health, in addition to many other factors. The system is dynamic, and we manage beds on an hourly and daily basis. This page does not reflect shift by shift changes, rather planned, short-term closures. The availability of beds currently are affected as a result of increasing numbers of hospitalized COVID-19 positive patients. The intent of this webpage is to transparently show where there are planned closures.

Simultaneously, AHS is also working hard to increase the number of acute beds and ICU beds as part of the Wave 4 pandemic response.

Approximate Average Annual Historical Hospital Occupancy

The table below shows the historical annual occupancy of beds in all five zones since 2018. AHS uses this information to monitor, manage, and adjust the number of beds across the province based on factors like – seasonality, the availability of health care workers and other emerging issues.

Historical occupancy is important because many times a reduction in the number of beds does not directly impact on patients or a community because, even with a temporary reduction, there are more beds available than there are patients who need them.

The table shows that pre-COVID-19, 93% of beds were occupied in 2018 and 92% in 2019. In 2020 the total number of beds occupied by patients dropped to a low of 86% as the system purposely held beds to be able to respond to the needs of patients with COVID. The average number of beds occupied by patients in 2021 to date is 90%. Currently, 98% of acute care beds are in operation and 97.1% of emergency department spaces are in operation across the province.

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AHS Bed Reduction Map

Facility Map

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