Canada

Hinshaw addresses province’s announcement on transition from ‘pandemic to endemic’

EDMONTON —
Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer hosted an information session Wednesday evening following Alberta’s announcement to transition its COVID-19 public health response.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw presented an overview of the province’s plan to eliminate its mask mandate, remove its isolation requirements, and move away asymptomatic and close-contact COVID-19 testing.

Hinshaw said Wednesday that the province will treat the COVID-19 virus the same way it treats other respiratory illnesses, citing Alberta’s widespread vaccination rates as a reason for the new approach.

“This is a major, major shift,” said Hinshaw. “We’re asking people to integrate that risk of COVID-19 into other risks and to not see it as the primary number one risk that all other things are secondary to.”

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer says there will be a surge in other respiratory viruses come fall, and the province is shifting away from treating COVID-19 as the highest risk but rather one risk among many.

“We only have a limited amount of resources,” said Hinshaw. “And if all we focus on is COVID-19, we’re allowing many other things to go without intervention. From a population level, that’s going cause more harm than good.”

RISE IN CASES, CONCERN

Hinshaw noted a significant amount of concern in the questions raised by primary care physicians while concluding Wednesday evening’s session.

“I want to acknowledge that any course of action we’ve taken throughout COVID has never been risk-free,” said Hinshaw. “Every course of action we take comes with consequences both positive and negative, and it’s no different with this policy change.”

Intensive care unit doctor, Dr. Darren Markland, told CTV News Edmonton that these changes will especially impact young children.

“It will have repercussions,” said Markland. “Especially in younger kids who now potentially can show up maskless, unvaccinated with symptoms, and there will be no repercussions – just spread.”


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