Cancellation of remaining COVID-19 agreement in Alberta sparks outrage from doctors
Although the number of cases, positive rate and R value, and vaccination rate are lagging behind other provinces, many doctors in Alberta are surprised and disappointed by the province’s plan to relax the COVID-19 surveillance and management system.
As of Thursday, the isolation of close contacts is no longer mandatory, but only a recommendation. Contact tracers will no longer notify close contacts, but they will continue to investigate cases in high-risk environments such as continuing care facilities. Asymptomatic testing will no longer be recommended.
On August 16, it is planned to further reduce the rules:
- If you test positive for COVID-19, you will no longer need to be isolated, but isolation is still strongly recommended.
- Quarantine hotels and quarantine support will no longer be available.
- People with symptoms will only be tested when they need to help guide patient care decisions.
- After August 31, only patients whose symptoms are severe enough to require treatment in a hospital or doctor’s office can be tested for COVID-19.
- Schools do not need to wear masks.
- Public transportation and most continuing care facilities will no longer need to wear masks.
Dr. Neeja Bakshi, who worked in the COVID department of the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton during the pandemic, said she is worried that these changes will have dire consequences.
“The medical world is completely ignited now,” she said. “It is irresponsible to think that we can do it in two weeks, and we know that we are not.”
Bakshi said she believes that abandoning testing, isolation and contact tracing will lead to preventable deaths.
“Remove all of this-if we first learned that you were infected with COVID when we intubated you, that would be a problem,” she said.
Demonstrations in Calgary, Edmonton
At noon on Friday, members of the medical community who were dissatisfied with the provincial plan held a demonstration outside the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton and the provincial offices of the McDougall Center in Calgary.
At a rally in Calgary, Dr. Joe Vipond, an emergency physician and co-founder of the Masks4Canada advocacy organization, called on Alberta’s Chief Health Officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, to resign.
“Like everyone, I want to believe that Dr. Xin Xiao puts our best interests at heart,” he said.
“But if you sign your name on a document, it says that I will expose every Albertan, including all our children, to unknown risks, and I am worried that she needs to resign. I don’t know yet. have what.”
Vipond said that the province is facing a historical moment in which officials will have to take responsibility for their decisions.
“The scary thing is that we haven’t resigned a public health official because of this. We haven’t had an MLA resignation that caused this situation,” he said, adding that he began to believe that there were “layers and layers of “Bad things” promote policy decisions.
“So all I can think of is that we come out and we say that this is wrong, and you will not do this in our province.”
Dr. Gabriel Fabreau, who also treats COVID-19 patients and teaches general internal medicine at the University of Calgary, said that the more infectious delta variant is still a threat.
He said: “Dismantle our testing or monitoring infrastructure and use hospitalization as the only indicator-it makes us blind and defenseless.”
Fabreau stated that he expects the delta variant to sweep vulnerable communities.
“I’m worried,” he said.
Fabreau said he fears that allowing the virus to spread uncontrollably may open the door to new variants.
“If we were the province to tear her apart, we would increase the risk of the’Alberta’ variant. Do we really want that?”
The Minister of Health says the decision is not political
Alberta Health Minister Taylor Sandro expressed his support for the decision to reduce public health measures. He pointed out that this was not politically motivated, but was proposed by Hinshaw.
“We have a lot of different opinions in the medical field, which is predictable and it is worth encouraging,” he said.
On Thursday, Dr. Daniel Gregson, an infectious disease expert at the University of Calgary, said that the government’s decision to end the mandatory quarantine was irresponsible.
“The message we want to convey is that if you are infected with COVID, or think you may be infected with COVID, you can do whatever you want,” he said. “I won’t agree.”
Gregson said that the fourth wave is inevitable, mainly among young and healthy people.
“We will see an increase in the number of hospitalizations. The question is, how much?”
Canadian Deputy Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo said that as the rules change from one jurisdiction to another, provinces may need to consider measures to protect their people.
“I think everyone is aware of the fact that it may have a…chain reaction on other provinces and regions-traveling within Canada, you know, residents of one province go to another province. Obviously, in this case , We are considering Alberta,” he said.
“Other provinces and regions will need to take action and recognize what might be best for their residents in their situation and protect…their public health and healthcare systems in their provinces.”
Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said that it is up to the provinces to determine their own health measures, but she still strongly encourages people infected with COVID-19 in Alberta to self-quarantine, even if the province has no mandatory requirements.
She said: “I will ask anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, or who you think they may be infected with COVID-19, to isolate, get tested and notify your close contacts.”
Dr. Sarah Fortune, head of the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, TH Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University, Boston, told CBC Radio active She believes that Alberta’s plan is good.
She said: “I think Alberta has done a good job in reducing the number of viruses and vaccine coverage, and is taking reasonable measures.”
“I don’t think people in Alberta have achieved more than 70% vaccine coverage. They don’t need to think that they will be the next Louisiana with much lower vaccine coverage.”
Radio active7:30Should we take local response measures
Fortune magazine warned that the global community has not yet come out of the predicament, and stated that as new and dangerous variants emerge, the competitive environment will always change.
But she said that since the long-running pandemic has caused such a great loss to society, it is important to take measures like those now taken in Alberta.
“In fact, it is very important for us people to take advantage of your success, the success of your public health system, and live a little bit,” Fortune said.