Shomporko Online News Desk: Alberta’s decision to abolish isolation restrictions for persons who test positive for COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has, according to Canada’s top doctors, could have ramifications across the country.
During a news conference in Ottawa on Friday, Theresa Tam, the country’s senior public health officer, said, “I firmly believe that quarantine and isolation can assist prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially in light of the emergence of the Delta variety.”
Even if it is no longer necessary, she recommended people continue isolating, be tested for COVID-19, and notify their close connections.
Alberta announced earlier this week that close contacts of positive cases are no longer being notified of exposure by contact tracers, nor are they required to isolate. The government has also ended asymptomatic testing.
As of Aug. 16, individuals who test positive won’t be legally required to isolate either, although it will still be recommended. Isolation hotels will close and quarantine supports will end.
Alberta’s case levels have been rising and the Delta variant is now dominant.
Vaccination rates have begun to lag. About 75 per cent of eligible Albertans have received at least one dose of vaccine and 64 per cent are fully immunized.
That means there are hundreds of thousands of unvaccinated people in Alberta, Tam said, and there’s the potential for large COVID-19 clusters and outbreaks.
The consequences of Alberta’s decision could spread beyond provincial boundaries, added Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer.
“Everyone is alive to the fact that there could be, as they say, ‘knock-on effects to the other provinces and territories with travel within Canada,” he said.
Alberta’s decision to lift all restrictions has been widely condemned by local leaders and healthcare providers.
In addition, the Canadian Paediatric Society has written an open letter to Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, encouraging her to reconsider easing isolation and testing requirements.
The move was described as an “unnecessary and risky gamble” in the letter.
Children under the age of 12 who are unable to receive the vaccine will be particularly susceptible, according to the organization.
“Removing essential public health precautions, especially at this critical juncture in the recovery process, risks exacerbating the virus’s spread and jeopardizing future recovery plans and supports,” the letter stated.
Source_ The Canadian Press