Alberta’s ‘Open For Summer’ plan was premature, chief medical officer of health says

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Alberta’s top doctor says the province’s “Open for Summer” plan has set the trajectory for a crushing fourth wave of COVID-19, which his predecessor warned is causing an “acute care system breakdown” .

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The Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Dina Hinshaw, told a conference call with doctors on Monday that it was a wrong move to lift all public health restrictions in July. She said other provinces that put in place base-level restrictions to manage the spread of the virus are now doing better than Alberta.

“Obviously, Alberta is in a significant crisis situation right now,” Hinshaw said. “The delta has spread very quickly and has had more dire consequences than we anticipated.”

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She said the data available in July on the spread and outcomes of COVID-19, together with the vaccine, led her to believe it was an opportune time to open up the province.

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“Expectations did not match reality,” said Hinshaw, who said there was no expected reduction in the rate of cases compared to hospitalizations. “[We] Actually had to shift and walk back, ‘Okay, we’re not ready yet, and need to take time.’ “

Alberta’s use of British COVID-19 data was a miscalculation

Dr. James Talbot, Alberta’s former chief medical health officer, said a worsening fourth wave is increasing the likelihood that physicians will have to decide who lives and who dies when the health system collapses.

“We are looking at a situation in which a whole bunch of health care workers, doctors, nurses and anesthetists, administrators are going to live with the long term consequences of making a life or death decision for a situation that was completely preventable. Talbot said in an interview on Tuesday.

He said Alberta’s United Conservative government had failed to address the crisis.

Talbot predicted that the situation would continue to spiral, without the passports of vaccines and public health measures being reinstated to contain the spread.

“If triage protocols are to be implemented, there are going to be people who would have otherwise survived a heart attack, pregnancy complication or motor vehicle collision, because the bed is full of someone who decided not to vaccinate.” Is .”

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Federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau criticized opposition to Alberta and Saskatchewan’s vaccine passports during a campaign halt in Richmond, B.C., on Tuesday.

“I feel bad, really bad for the people in Alberta and Saskatchewan who stepped in to do the right thing,” said Trudeau of the millions who have been vaccinated.

“Because of the leadership that won’t commit to protecting them the right way, or even saving the economy the right way, they face a greater risk of canceled surgeries. are facing health restrictions that may have to be brought in.”

During the call with doctors, Hinshaw said it is clear from other jurisdictions that vaccine requirements for discretionary activities may increase among younger populations.

Premier Jason Kenney has repeatedly dismissed calls for proof of vaccination policy in Alberta. However, from Thursday Albertans will be able to print their vaccine status on a card or show it electronically.

Hinshaw also said he “deeply regrets” how the comments he made in July led some Alberts to believe that COVID-19 is over. He acknowledged the frustration by health care workers with the government’s handling of the pandemic.

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A record-setting 212 Albertans were in intensive care as of Tuesday. In all, 822 people were hospitalized with COVID-19. Alberta had the highest number of active cases in Canada at 18,265.

Government spokesman Harrison Fleming said the COVID-19 committee was meeting on Tuesday and a caucus meeting was to follow.

In Edmonton, NDP opposition leader Rachel Notley said the video of Hinshaw’s conference call, which circulated online, was concerning, as no plan was mentioned to resolve the crisis.

“The attitude of the debacle was disturbing,” Notley said outside the legislature.

“One was concerning the lack of an answer, [as were] It is accepted that the entire crisis can be traced back to the decisions taken by this government in July. “

Notley renewed a call for Kenny’s government to act specifically with a vaccine passport.

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“Forecasts prepared by Alberta Health Services say the number of people in Alberta who need intensive care to save their lives is about to double in the coming weeks. We slipped off the edge of a large cliff. are.”

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Granthshala editors, giving you a brief summary of the day’s most important headlines. .

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