Canada’s top doctor on Alberta’s loose COVID-19 rules: There's 'still..a ways to go’ to beat pandemic

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer. (Getty Images) (Getty Images)

After Alberta's announcement of loosened public health measures, including not mandating masking and quarantine, Canada's top health officials are still urging Canadians to isolate if they think they may have COVID-19.

"I believe that Alberta is going to strongly recommend to cases to isolate and absolutely, if the policy in Alberta is not to mandate that, then I would ask that any individual who is diagnosed with COVID-19 or you think you may have it, please isolate, please get your test and inform your close contacts," Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said on Friday.

I firmly believe that quarantine and isolation can help prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially in light of the spread of the Delta variant... I think Alberta, like all provinces, are doing well in trying to get their population vaccinated but still has a ways to go.Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer

Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada's deputy chief public health officer, added that there is also a risk of "knock-on" effects that these changes in Alberta to have to the rest of Canada with residents moving between different jurisdictions.

"The other provinces and territories will need to do and recognize what, in their context, might be most appropriate for their residents and to protect their public health and healthcare system," Dr. Njoo said.

"The bottom line is, get vaccinated, there’s still a ways to go in Alberta," Dr. Tam added.

"Hundreds of thousands of people not vaccinated can lead to pretty big potential for large clusters, outbreaks and an escalation in the epidemic itself."

Currently in Alberta, contact tracers will not notify close contacts of exposures, outside of investigating cases in high-risk settings. Beginning on Aug. 16, mandated masking orders will be lifted and isolation following a positive COVID-19 test result will not be required.