Federal Minister of Health sends letter to his Alberta counterpart asking for scientific reasoning behind lifting COVID restrictions – .

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Federal Minister of Health sends letter to his Alberta counterpart asking for scientific reasoning behind lifting COVID restrictions – .


In the letter to Tyler Shandro, Patty Hajdu says she agrees with the Canadian Pediatric Society’s description of moving to Alberta as an “unnecessary and risky bet”.

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CALGARY – Alberta’s top doctor defends the province’s plan to lift all its COVID-19-related public health restrictions amid growing concerns from doctors and political leaders across Canada, including the federal minister of Health Patty Hajdu.

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In a letter to Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro, Hajdu said she agreed with the Canadian Pediatric Society’s description that moving the province was an “unnecessary and risky gamble. “.

Hajdu said recent modeling for Alberta predicted a more serious resurgence of cases fueled by the Delta variant, and all governments must take reasonable steps to protect Canadians.

“Canada’s vaccination campaign, one of the best in the world, has dramatically changed the overall context of COVID-19 here,” Hajdu wrote. “However, it is still too early to claim victory.

“Many are still unvaccinated, which creates the potential for epidemics, and we need to increase first and second dose coverage to protect against a Delta-induced resurgence that could have a serious impact on our citizens and capacity. of our health care system. “

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Hajdu said she wanted to better understand the rationale and science behind Alberta’s decision.

Last week, the province ended contact tracing and said close contacts of people who test positive for COVID-19 are not required to self-isolate. And from August 16, those infected will no longer need to self-quarantine.

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw told The Canadian Press on Thursday that the decision was made after her team looked at data on age-specific outcomes related to COVID-19, l vaccine efficacy and modeling of Delta variant transmission and related health outcomes.

Hinshaw said he also studied other jurisdictions, such as the UK, which saw a slight increase in the Delta variant before Alberta, to determine the risks of removing restrictions.

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“We expect an increase in cases and they will continue to increase for about a month. But the impact on severe outcomes and on acute care will be significantly lessened by the vaccines, ”Hinshaw said.

While Hinshaw acknowledged Albertans’ concerns about “hard and fast change,” she said timing was the most important question.

“What I think was not part of the conversation is the risk of maintaining the status quo,” she said.

If Alberta continues to view COVID-19 as its biggest risk and focuses all of its resources on it, the province will build up a backlog of other problems, Hinshaw said.

Abandoning isolation, screening and contact-seeking measures before the fall will help Alberta prepare for an expected peak in other respiratory illnesses, she said, and will free up active care resources. and in public health.

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Hinshaw, however, stressed that people who fall ill with COVID-19 or any other communicable disease should self-isolate although they are not legally required to do so.

If Alberta’s acute care system is again overwhelmed or if a new variant poses a significant threat, Hinshaw said the province will reconsider reinstating public health measures.

Shandro declined to comment on Hajdu’s letter on Thursday, but criticized the federal minister on social media.

“Minister Hajdu significantly neglected to write a letter to Saskatchewan despite (us) having similar approaches to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, Hajdu chose to target Alberta – Trudeau’s Liberal favorite punching bag, ”he wrote, before condemning the federal government’s record on fighting COVID-19 .

Shandro said Hinshaw and his team’s recommendations to lift the health measures are “in line with the science.”

In a recent editorial, Hinshaw apologized for causing some people “confusion, fear or anger,” but said the changes would help support the overall health of Albertans.

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