Effective Thursday, close contacts of a COVID-19 case in Alberta are no longer required to isolate after exposure, unless the individual has COVID-19 symptoms or is confirmed positive.
"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," a statement from Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health reads.
We expect to see increased influenza and other viruses this year, and these changes will make sure the health system is ready and able to support all Albertans in the months ahead.Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health
This change is one in a series of changes of public health measures the Alberta government is putting in place after over 75 per cent of eligible Albertans have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 64 per cent are fully immunized.
Other changes to public health measures coming into effect on Thursday include:
Contact tracers will no longer notify close contacts of exposure but will continue to investigate cases in high-risk setting like acute and continuing care facilities
Outbreak management and identification will focus on high-risk locations
Asymptomatic testing is no longer recommended but tests will be available to individuals who are symptomatic
A number of other rules will change in Alberta on Aug. 16. This includes:
Provincial mandatory masking orders will be lifted but may be required in some acute care or continuing care settings
Isolation following a positive COVID-19 test result will no longer be required
Isolation hotels and quarantine support will no longer be available
Testing will be available through assessment centres until Aug. 31 and after that tests will be in primary care settings, including physicians’ offices, for those with severe illness and offered to those in in high-risk outbreaks
"Our health system will keep protecting Albertans who are exposed to COVID-19 while also ensuring that we are able to handle all other viruses and illnesses," a statement from Tyler Shandro, Alberta's Minister of Health said.
"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."
Following this announcement, health experts in Canada took to social media to share their thoughts on the provincial government's changes.
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
Can someone pleeeeeease call the Canadian federal government to tell them to pleeeeeease step in & save Alberta?
— 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
what is happening in Alberta affects every single one of us — this may simply be the biggest policy disconnect yet. solidarity with health workers across country and hoping for a shift to evidence soon.
— Andrew Baback Boozary MD (@drandrewb) July 29, 2021
Alberta looks poised to create vulnerability for the entire country. There’s a lot of mobility related to extractive industries. Alberta’s bad decisions are a pan-Canadian problem
— David Fisman (@DFisman) July 29, 2021
Lots of buzz about the Alberta changes (less surveillance, dropping mandatory isolation, etc…)
-To see what’s happening we’ll have to shift to follow hospitalizations not cases
- promote and support voluntary isolation
- get your 2 doses ASAP
- still be careful
— Dr. Lynora Saxinger 🇨🇦 (@AntibioticDoc) July 28, 2021
Other Canadians have also been commenting on the new Alberta rules, with many people expressing their concern.
No matter what your Alberta government does or does not do- you can still protect yourself by using your head. Wear a mask- social distancing- being sensible- washing your hands. We’ve come this far without any leadership- and we will continue on. #electioncannotcometoosoon
— jann arden (@jannarden) 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 approach to public health is a threat to all Canadians.
— Ahmed Ali (@MrAhmednurAli) July 29, 2021
Who thinks that Doug Ford should halt all incoming and outgoing flights to Alberta?
— Christine Cooper (@coopSpeak) July 29, 2021
— Maryanne W vaccinated & huggable (ask 1st)😬 (@uptown_one) July 28, 2021
I am embarrassed and disgusted to be from Alberta. I am enraged, I am distressed, and I feel hopeless. I feel abandoned and spat on, and I'm fucking EXHAUSTED of it! Living here makes me feel starved of compassion to the point that it's literally debilitating.#ableg #covid19ab
— 🇵🇸 • Eleni (@IgnitedSoul13) July 29, 2021