Alberta announced yesterday that it would change its regulations on isolation and contact racing reporting.
The Canadian province reports that 64.3% of eligible adults are fully vaccinated and nearly 76% have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said in a statement that, “Our top priority is supporting the health of Albertans. COVID-19 is still with us but we are now in a place where we need to manage it through vaccinations and the proven public health measures used for other communicable viruses.”
Hinshaw told the media that the changes are being made, in part, to better manage public health resources.
Global News reports that “close contacts will no longer be notified of exposure by contact tracers nor will they be legally required to isolate — although it [is] still recommended” and that “will end asymptomatic testing.”
More changes will go into effect in mid-August. At that time, the province will no longer mandate that people who test positive for the virus isolate, although it will remain strongly recommended. Isolation hotels will also close as quarantine supports come to close.
Tyler Shandro, Alberta’s Minister of Health, said in a statement, “As the majority of us are vaccinated against COVID-19, we are adapting to make sure that the health system is ready to care for all Albertans, whatever their illness. Please get vaccinated to help protect your health and the health of those around you.”
The announcement startled many Canadians who took to Twitter to denounce the province’s decision.
Naheed Dosnai, a faculty member at the University of Toronto, posted “Can someone pleeeeeease call the Canadian federal government to tell them to pleeeeeease step in & save Alberta?”
So let me get this straight: Alberta is removing masking rules AND no longer requiring people who have tested positive for #COVID19 to quarantine…but the virus is spreading faster now than it did during the peak of the 3rd wave??? 🤯🤯🤯 #COVID19AB
— Naheed Dosani (@NaheedD) July 29, 2021
Alberta is throwing out #COVID19 public health measures.
So young children, who are unvaccinated, will be at risk of long COVID. Elders in LTC, in whom the vaccine effect is diminished, are at risk of death.
A sacrifice that Alberta's government was willing to make.#COVID19AB
— Dr. Amit Arya (@AmitAryaMD) July 29, 2021
The “Florida of Canada.” Not a title to be proud of Alberta! 😬 https://t.co/ErHTCw2Kip
— Mike Morden (@mmorden) July 29, 2021
Alberta’s decision sparked speculation that other provinces might follow suit.
When asked about Ontario’s future plans regarding COVID-19 isolation practices, “Solicitor General Sylvia Jones didn’t specifically answer either way, instead confirming only that the province’s current indoor masking policy will remain in place for the time being,” per CBC
“We are going to continue with the pathway that keeps the vast majority of Ontarian citizens safe and hope that people do the right thing and get vaccinated as soon as they can,” she said, noting that 80% of Ontarians aged 12 and older are at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19.
Currently, Canada’s national government plans to reopen its border to American visitors on August 9. All travelers older than 5 years old will need to have received a negative COVID-19 test. Anyone over the age of 12 must be fully vaccinated to enter the country.
On July 26, the government reported they had 228 new cases and 4,637 active cases. Roughly 50% of Canadians are fully vaccinated.