TORONTO -- Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott confirms the province will help Alberta manage its overwhelmed intensive care units (ICUs), which have been inundated with COVID-19 patients, operating at 155 per cent over normal capacity.

“There was a time when Ontario needed some help as well and other provinces helped us,” Elliott said, after making an announcement in Tweed, Ont., on Friday.

In April, the Ford government reached out to every province and territory asking for help with health-care resources to manage overloaded ICUs. At the time, Alberta declined to send help due to a sharp increase in their own hospitalizations. 

“Our officials, they're having conversations right now about exactly what they need, and we will be there to support them and help them,” she said.

Elliott said she expects supporting Alberta’s ICUs would be “at the top of the list” of Ontario’s response. Although, she did not disclose any details on how the province plans on providing this support. “Frankly, I think that their intensive care units are very full right now,” she said.

“Ontario has graciously offered their help, and we're in discussions with them regarding potential transfer of patients if needed,” Dr. Verna Yiu, the head of Alberta Health Services (AHS), told reporters on Thursday

Alberta has a total of 310 ICU beds. Currently, 86 per cent of those beds are occupied, primarily by COVID-19 patients, Yiu said on Thursday.

"If the numbers keep increasing, right now we're seeing on average about 18 to 20 new COVID ICU admissions every single day,” she said. “We need to bend that curve.”

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney declared a public health emergency for the province on Wednesday, describing the current situation as a “crisis of the unvaccinated.”

With files from the Canadian Press.