'Extremely high' demand for EMS and emergency departments in Edmonton and Calgary: AHS


Alberta's largest cities are experiencing high demand for EMS and longer wait times to receive care at the emergency Saturday, partly due to the heat wave.

According to Alberta Health Services (AHS), EMS is seeing “extremely high” demand in Edmonton and Calgary due to an increase in heat-related calls, emergencies stemming from outdoor activities, and drug and alcohol-related calls.

Since Tuesday morning, EMS has responded to over 125 heat-related calls in Edmonton and more than 73 calls in Calgary.

“Anyone who needs EMS care will receive it,” AHS said in a statement to CTV News Edmonton. “We are ensuring that the most critical patients are prioritized for receiving immediate care.”

AHS says additional staff and ambulances have been activated, in addition to delaying some non-urgent transfers to ensure as many staff as possible are ready to respond.

Seven additional ambulances were operated in Edmonton on Thursday to cope with demand.

Estimated wait times for the emergency room in Edmonton were in some cases over four hours Saturday, including at the Grey Nuns, Misericordia, and University of Alberta hospital.

In Calgary, estimated wait times for the Foothills Medical Centre and Peter Lougheed Centre were sometimes near three hours.

“We are not mandating overtime, however we are offering overtime to staff who are willing,” AHS said. “EMS would like to thank our frontline crews for their hard work, in challenging circumstances.”

AHS EMS is seeing extremely high demand in Edmonton and Calgary, due to several factors including an increase in heat-related calls, emergency calls related to people participating in outdoor activities, and drug and alcohol-related calls.

— Alberta Health Services (@AHS_media) July 3, 2021