Alberta Medical Association head concerned over province lifting COVID-19 protocols

WATCH ABOVE: Some recent videos about Alberta's COVID-19 situation.

The head of the Alberta Medical Association says he has significant concerns with the province’s decision to suspend almost all of its COVID-19 public health protocols.

In an open letter to members, Paul Boucher says the pace at which the United Conservative government is ending restrictions is troubling.

READ MORE: Albertans protest ending mandatory COVID-19 isolation, masking and testing changes 

He says the government should release the data on which the decision was made.

Boucher adds the government’s planned reliance on hospitalization data and monitoring wastewater for viruses isn’t likely to provide enough information on the spread of COVID-19, especially as new variants take over.

The letter says easing back restrictions more slowly would be safer, easier on the health care system and cause less public worry.

Boucher says Alberta will eventually have to move away from pandemic measures, but concludes the government is doing so too quickly.

“The pace at which public health measures are ending is troubling,” he writes.

“I do not disagree that moving from pandemic state to endemic state is the future but would strongly advocate for a less precipitous approach.”

READ MORE: Alberta COVID-19 policy shift raising concerns for parents, teachers before school year 

Boucher says he has shared his concerns with the province.

This week, Alberta announced that close contacts of people who test positive for COVID-19 are no longer legally required to isolate, nor are they notified by contact tracers.

READ MORE: Canada’s top doctors say Alberta’s COVID-19 plan could have ripple effects across the country 

As of Aug. 16, infected individuals won’t need to isolate. Testing will also be curtailed.

The moves come as the province’s active case numbers and infection rate increases.

The lifting of Alberta’s restrictions has been viewed with concern by other top doctors.

Canada’s chief medical officer of health Theresa Tam has warned against opening too quickly. The Canadian Pediatric Society has written to her Alberta counterpart Dr. Deena Hinshaw urging her to reconsider.

Watch below: (From July 29, 2021) Alberta is pushing forward with the province’s pandemic recovery plan, removing nearly every public health order despite a surge in COVID-19 cases. Heather Yourex-West explains the strategy, and how health-care experts strongly disagree with it.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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