Coronavirus: Edmonton doctor raises contact tracing concerns


There are currently more than 3,200 active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, and 42% have unknown sources.Some patients have trouble remembering where they were two weeks ago, but there are also a growing number of people reluctant to share this information with contact tracers.

Edmonton intensive care doctor Dr Darren Markland said it was “terrifying” that people did not cooperate.

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“The first thing people have to realize is that there is no blame,” he said. “Contact tracing is done anonymously for a reason. We are not here to pass judgment.

“We’re here to find out who might be infected, because that’s the most important role in controlling infections.”

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Toronto had to give up on its contact tracing efforts after the number of cases grew too quickly and tracers couldn’t follow. Markland is concerned that this will also happen in Alberta.

“All you have to do is look at Ontario to see where we are in two weeks,” he said.

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“Albertans were very good in the first phase of listening to the recommendations and respecting them. It hasn’t changed.

“We need to be more careful than ever before. Halloween will be a problem, Christmas will be a problem. I’m a little nervous to see what the results of Thanksgiving will be. If we have a huge increase in hospital admissions then I think we have to go back to the restrictions that we had at the start.

“I think that at the moment voluntary measures will not be enough. I think a similar analogy would be if we made the speed limit voluntary. How many people would travel less than 100 kilometers per hour? “

Some businesses in the province are helping with contact tracing, including the Chop Steakhouse & Bar restaurant chain. Since July, establishments in Alberta have been registering the names and numbers of their clients.

READ MORE: What is COVID-19 close contact?

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“We collect them privately… and we only distribute them to Alberta Health if they ask for those names or phone numbers of a particular day. After 30 days, we destroy them, ”said Chop Steakhouse & Bar President Marcel Blais.

“I think it’s something that builds consumer confidence in the market.

“If there is an event where they are exposed to someone who has COVID (-19), they are contacted quickly and this allows them to act quickly – whether it is to take a test, downsize the their bubble or whatever it is important for them to protect their family, friends and loved ones. “

Chop Steakhouse & Bar records the names and numbers of customers for easy contact tracing.

Chop Steakhouse & Bar records the names and numbers of customers for easy contact tracing.

Global News

Markland said it was good trade policy, but the practice should be more universal and the only way to achieve this is government intervention.

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“If there are so many infections that they overwhelm the system, then we will no longer have the capacity to effectively suppress the spread of the virus, and that window closes very quickly,” he said.

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