Edmonton — Alberta overturns previous announcements that a 14-year-old child died of COVID-19 and changes the way minors report future COVID-related deaths.
Dr. Dina Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Health Officer, said the initial information on teenage death was changed as a result of the review, indicating that COVID-19 was not the cause.
She said the state’s policy on reporting deaths was to balance the timely disclosure and accuracy of information.
“But the first information provided to us was subject to change after the review, as it was reported on Tuesday,” Hinsho said Thursday.
“The first report of the 14-year-old death included COVID as a secondary cause, but we received additional information indicating that COVID was not the cause of death.”
Given the emotional nature of such cases, Hinsho said that deaths from COVID-19 in people under the age of 18 would not be reported until a thorough review process was completed.
“This incident has caused many people suffering, and I apologize for this,” she said. “In these cases, accuracy is prioritized over timeliness.”
Following the Hinsho COVID-19 update on Tuesday, she was accused of reducing teenage deaths by noticing that the patient had an underlying medical condition.
Hinsho said the goal is to provide information that will help the general public fully understand the nature of COVID-19.
She reported 916 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, killing another 30. There were 13,423 active cases in the state.
Dr. Verna Yiu, CEO of Alberta Health Services, said the number of inpatients and intensive care patients continued to decline slightly, but pressure on the hospital system remained high.
There were more than 1,000 patients with COVID-19. There were 282 patients in the ICU, most of whom were ill. Alberta usually has 173 critical care beds, but is scrambled to more than double the number of ad hoc spaces.
ICU capacity is estimated at 76%, down from 90% a month ago.
“We are grateful that the numbers seem to be declining, but we know that this trend can easily be reversed, especially if we are happy,” said Yiu. Says.
“And we are still uncertain about the potential impact of the long Thanksgiving weekend.”
Alberta had to cancel thousands of non-urgent surgeries to accommodate the surge in COVID-19 patients.
Yiu said they are slowly processing the backlog as pressure on the intensive care unit is relieved. However, she said there was no timeline yet for when the surgery schedule could return to normal.