Three seniors living at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre are being temporarily moved to free up beds for the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement sent to Mix News, Alberta Health Services says the individuals were transported to a continuing care centre in Lac La Biche on Friday as they try and free up space for people who potentially contract the virus.
In Wood Buffalo, there are six confirmed cases of the virus – four in Fort McMurray and two outside of the urban service area.
The three were planning to move into the Willow Square Continuing as soon as it opened.
“This decision was made after consultation with their physicians, and only when it was deemed safe and appropriate to move them. The seniors’ families were consulted on the discharges,” read the statement.
Across the province, hospitals are trying to free up around 2,500 beds.
AHS adds this will help more potential COVID-19 patients while also reducing the risk of these seniors being exposed to the virus.
“Every effort will be made to move these patients back to their preferred location – and home community – as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, Mayor Don Scott says he’s concerned this will have more negative effects.
“We recognize that the movement of our seniors may be necessary to ensure their safety and well-being. However, I, along with my Council colleagues, have deep concerns about this action for a variety of reasons.”
This includes an increase in morbidity rate for seniors when moved, additional costs to families, and the lack of clarity on when they can come back.
Scott adds he has written to Health Minister Tyler Shandro.