Rallies were held in Edmonton and Calgary on Saturday.
Albertans protest to end mandatory COVID-19 isolation, masking and test changes
The removal of restrictions was announced on Wednesday.
As of July 29, close contacts will no longer be notified of exposure by contact tracers and will no longer be legally required to self-isolate. Asymptomatic testing is “no longer recommended,” the government said.
Alberta to adjust COVID-19 masking, isolation and testing rules over the next month
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On August 16, those infected will not need to self-isolate. Isolation hotels will close when quarantine measures end. Provincial mandatory mask orders will be lifted, but face coverings in some acute care facilities may be required.
Wednesday’s announcement by Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw came as the province recorded 194 cases of COVID-19 – the highest daily number of cases since early June.
In the capital of Alberta, about 250 people came to the Legislature to protest on Saturday.
“We will keep saying the same thing until the government listens,” said Dr. Tehseen Ladha, University of Alberta assistant professor in the Faculty of Medicine.
“This time, with the community organization and the public protest, it’s really the property of everyone who is there. I think that’s really the message. There have been so many provincial government decisions that have upset, angry and anxious people. This [rally] is the highlight of everything.
Ladha cited the Alberta Medical Association as one of many provincial and federal medical organizations that have criticized the government’s decision. The Canadian Pediatric Society and the Edmonton Zone Medical Association have sent official letters.
Alberta Medical Association chief worried about province lifting COVID-19 protocols
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Alda Ngo said she attended Saturday’s event due to concerns for her seven-year-old son.
“He’s not vaccinated, and I just want to keep him safe,” she said. “I understand that we have to move forward but I have the impression that it is a bit premature. “
When asked about COVID-19 policies for government and staff, the province told Global News its policies are “aligned with the directives and advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and in accordance with OHS.”
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“Slightly less than half of civil servants currently work remotely, and the vast majority will return to their workplaces in a phased approach from next week until September 7,” said a statement.
“Employees are free to continue to use face masks in the workplace as a personal choice, even though they are not mandatory. “
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Alberta Provincial Employees Union vice-president Susan Slade said in a statement to Global News that the union is aware that some members are “uncomfortable with the total lifting of all restrictions and want Assure them that their union will do everything in our power to ensure their safety at work.
“It is the employer’s legal responsibility to make sure their workers are safe on the job, and the union will address the concerns of all members when they are feeling unsafe,” Slade said.
With signs in hand, approximately 200 people attended the McDougall Center.
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Calgary-based emergency physician Dr. Joe Vipond calls for Hinshaw’s resignation.
“It is quite evident now that public health does not really put policies in place to protect the health of the public. I think it’s a travesty, and I think she should quit, ”he said to applause.
“Almost every other doctor I know has turned to medicine for the express purpose of helping people. I can’t believe we have someone who has gone into the practice of medicine for the specific purpose of protecting community health – the health of entire populations – and putting that entire population at risk. I don’t know what to say, folks. It’s crazy. “
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Brett Boyden, spokesperson for Health Minister Tyler Shandro, said in an emailed statement to Global News on Saturday: “Dr. Hinshaw’s recommendations are based on science, not policy. Attempts to smear his reputation by the Leader of the Opposition and others are disgusting. Dr. Hinshaw is to be commended for her efforts to bring Alberta out of the pandemic and has the full support of the Government of Alberta.
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Vipond doesn’t feel safe in these dark times.
“I have never even heard at any time in Canadian history that a jurisdiction has decided to put its entire population at risk of a fatal disease which can also lead to long-term disability,” he said. he declared to the crowd.
Now we won’t be able to monitor our numbers, and the disease will infect anyone susceptible, such as the unvaccinated or those under 12, he explained.
“I call on the Attorney General of Canada to contact our Prime Minister and tell him that you are not authorized to violate the Charter rights of 4.5 million Albertans,” Vipond said, citing the law. to life, liberty and security.
“Regarding travel restrictions, I can’t speak for the other provinces, but I wouldn’t – especially when we get into the fourth wave with the Delta variant and maybe new variants – I wouldn’t. let Albertans be in their province, and I would not travel here.
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Parent Natasha Brubaker, whose child is considered to be at high risk for the virus, said she was horrified by the rule changes. She said the government is choosing to put people at risk “by reducing reasonable protections.”
“Our children are, by definition, vulnerable. They have no option to protect themselves beyond these sanitary measures and the decisions made by the adults they rely on to care for them, ”she said.
“I am not suggesting a lockdown or a reduction in store capacity or the closure of restaurants. I ask that reasonable measures be taken to protect them and prevent illness, death and possibly the closure of our schools again. “
– With files from Morgan Black