Alberta Health Services has added paramedics and more hours to ambulance services in Okotoks and Chestemere.

The two communities will now be served by local crews 24 hours a day.

Since August 15 they've had an additional four paramedics each.

Nine additional ambulances have also been brought on line in Calgary and Edmonton to try to relieve pressure on EMS services in neighbouring communities.

Health Minister Jason Copping, stated in a news release put out Thursday afternoon, "the additional resources are another step forward in the ongoing response to an unprecedented increase in demand for EMS services".

Copping adds the expanded service is the result of the EMS 10-Point Plan, which is creating capacity in the healthcare system as EMS continues to manage a sustained increase in 911 calls. 

"We have been steadfast in our goal of adding capacity to the system," says Darren Sandbeck, Chief Paramedic and Senior Provincial Director, AHS EMS. "We continue to manage a sustained increase in call volume of about 30 percent above pre-pandemic call volume that is keeping EMS crews busy. I want to thank our paramedics and staff profoundly for their continued service and dedication to patients".