Alberta’s Public Health Restrictions are Based on Flawed and Frequently Altered AHS Data

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on September 30, 2021

Since having first been made aware of, and reported, that Alberta Health Service has been retroactively editing ICU data over the past few days, The National Telegraph (TNT) has been set on a frustrating goose chase to make sense of any of the data currently coming out.

Right off the bat, it should be asked why, if ICU bed data keeps getting altered retroactively, are AHS spokespeople and AHS CEO Dr. Verna Yiu able to provide public health updates at press conferences with any semblance of credibility knowing that the data they work off of could be significantly retroactively changed in the future? Food for thought. 

TNT covered ICU bed data edits that AHS made a couple of days ago, but since then more edits have been made that call into question the narratives that there is a risk of hospitals being overwhelmed, which Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deen Hinshaw, and Dr. Yiu have all been putting out. 

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The first edits made were only of empty ICU bed numbers from September 6 to 21 but the new edits constitute everything from January 28 to September 29. 

Every single day since July 1 has had an extra 5 empty ICU beds added to them, and the whole length of the graph has also been heavily smooth out, so where the original dips under the 173 required baseline number of ICU beds right before July 1 the new chart does not.

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David Dickson, a retired Liverpool police officer and now the operator of a cybersecurity firm in Alberta, has been following the AHS’ data day-to-day and while monitoring for edits also came across some rather interesting information regarding both ICU and Acute care bed occupancy rates.

First, it should be noted in Alberta if ICU ‘surge capacity’ reaches over 90 percent AHS must implement a protocol that requires patients in ICU to only be treated if they are perceived to have a greater than 20 percent chance of surviving the next 12 months. If ‘surge capacity’ then reaches over 95 percent only patients with a 50 percent chance of living 12 months will be admitted to ICU. 

Dickson found that between April to early September of 2021 AHS data apparently shows that acute care beds were often above 90 percent occupancy and ICU beds were consistently above 90 percent capacity, reaching as high as 98 percent on one day. 

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Dickson when speaking to TNT said, “Remember the panicked press conferences about ‘triaging ICU patients?…No neither do I.” pointing out the silence of both the Alberta government and AHS at what was, on paper, a massive public healthcare crisis. 

AHS Spokeswoman Kerry Williamson back during a press conference on September 23 said that a triage framework will be put in place only when all other efforts to create additional ICU beds have been exhausted. This was when ICUs bed occupancy was originally reported to be nearing or above 90 percent, but then AHS retroactively updated the numbers it showed occupancy was significantly lower than originally thought. Later the numbers were then updated again to closer to what they originally were but still a completely new set of numbers for available ICU beds. 

Back in April when ICUs were consistently above 90, yet no word from AHS talking about the hospitals being overwhelmed let alone that triaging protocols would need to be put in place. 

(Photo from the Edmonton Journal)

(Photo from the Edmonton Journal)

But why was there no panic if the numbers supposedly show that hospital capacity was nearly at a breaking point? Well, it seems that the number of beds available does not reflect the much larger access AHS has to beds, both for acute care as well as the ICU. 

In an official Alberta government update presentation on COVID-19 from April 8, 2021, it can be seen that in total the province has 8,843 acute care beds available, yet all of the data coming from AHS showing the occupancy of acute care beds, only a total of 5,931 acute care beds are shown.

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ICU capacity in the April 8 presentation shows only 295 beds but later on, in the same presentation, AHS claims it can increase ICU capacity by 1,081 by the end of April. Although AHS never actually increased ICU beds to anywhere close to over 1,081 it makes sense that they should have been able to, due to the UCP government funding 1,481 ICU beds for 2021. 

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The trend in all the statements and data presented by AHS and its spokespeople is not only inconsistent over time but there has been a consistent underrepresentation of the resources that AHS has access to. 

It is troubling that Alberta’s new public health restrictions and regulations, including the vaccine passport system, had their implementation justified by Premier Kenney based on the AHS data regarding hospitalizations and availability of beds which has been shown to be deeply flawed.

Retroactive changes to official AHS health data are completely unacceptable, and those who are altering data and presenting it as set in stone in press conferences need to be held responsible.

Wyatt Claypool

Wyatt is a student at Mount Royal University, where he is the president of its Campus Conservative club. In his writing, he focuses on covering provincial and federal politics, firearms regulation, and the energy sector. Wyatt has also previously written for The Post Millennial.

6 responses to “Alberta’s Public Health Restrictions are Based on Flawed and Frequently Altered AHS Data”

  1. Joseph Fournier says:

    Keep up the great investigative journalism!!

  2. Gaius says:

    Greetings fellow Albertans and Canadians. I’ve successfully obtained ivermectin (human), and now wish to pass on how to do it to others. Contact for details. Don’t tolerate AHS` policy of "go home if you get sick and hope for the best."

  3. Jane says:

    Thank you for the AHS investigation

  4. Jane says:

    Why AHS CEO is not resigning? Liar! Liar! Last week why AHS boardchair suddenly announced resignation? I want to Yiu to resign. We have too many liars running our public health system.

  5. Rosie says:

    Citizens of Canada all citizens of Canada we are all being TORTURED by government officials and health officials which is a clear cut unlawful violation of Section 269.1 of the criminal code. TORTURE