Health care pressure again cancels New Year’s baby announcement in Alberta

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Alberta health authorities have again canceled their annual New Year’s baby announcement due to a spike in respiratory infections that are straining the province’s healthcare system.

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Neither Alberta Health Services (AHS) nor Covenant Health, a Catholic healthcare provider in the province, will announce the identities of the first babies born in 2023, AHS said in a news release Thursday.

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The health authority attributed the decision to an increase in respiratory illnesses causing « capacity challenges » in Alberta health care facilities.

“While we understand this is a traditional news event, it is simply not possible to invite media to our facilities at this time, or to facilitate media interviews,” AHS said. « Additionally, our work and delivery teams are extremely busy and priority must be given to patient care. »

While winter is typically a peak time for respiratory illnesses, Alberta is experiencing an early rise in infections, including influenza, COVID-19, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections, which could create » a severe season,” said Alberta interim Dr. Mark Joffe. Chief Medical Officer of Health, said in November.

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The AHS describes RSV as a common childhood infection causing runny nose, coughing, and sneezing that can lead to respiratory problems, such as pneumonia, requiring hospital care.

The health authority also canceled its newborn announcement in 2021 and 2022, the latter of which coincided with the fifth wave of COVID-19 infections.

Towards the end of 2021, a new, highly infectious Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus triggered a massive spread of COVID-19 that took active cases in the province to new highs in 2022.

As with its 2021 announcement, AHS said it hopes to continue the tradition for the following year and congratulated families with newborns in 2023 in advance.



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