Alberta’s chief public health doctor announced Friday that Alberta’s public health measures that are set to expire on Monday will remain in place for another six weeks, while the newly announced back-to-school guidelines do not mandate in-class masks but will include vaccinations. At school. .
Dr. Dina Henshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, also announced that the mandatory 10-day isolation for those with COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test result will also continue until September 27.
“We are not going backwards. We are pausing to monitor and assess before taking the next step forward,” she said.
“Having said that, I regret that the way I communicated about these changes, and the rapid pace of them, caused such distress.”
Hospitalization, children’s cases cause concern
In explaining the decision to postpone the changes originally scheduled for Monday, Henshaw cited two concerns: hospitalizations outside the intensive care unit trending higher than expected, and emerging evidence from the United States about pediatric cases with a delta variant.
Hinshaw said the directive for contact tracing that took effect July 29 — close contacts will not be notified, except in high-risk settings such as continuing care facilities — has not been reversed.
Measures that will remain in place until September 27 include:
- Mandatory concealment orders in public accessible transit, taxi and ride shares. This includes school buses.
- Mandatory isolation for 10 days for those who show symptoms of the Corona virus or a positive test result
- Testing at assessment centers for any individual showing symptoms
Back to school tips
Henshaw announced on Friday that masking would no longer be required regionally in school settings, but said school officials have the authority to take local measures — such as physical distancing, gathering and mandatory concealment — if those decisions are appropriate for them and their communities.
Education Minister Adriana Lagrange said that at this point in the COVID-19 pandemic, these measures are best left to local authorities to decide for themselves.
“Thanks to the power of vaccines and the dedication of Albertans, parents, students, and school staff can look forward to a normal school year in September, which includes returning to in-person classes, field trips, team sports, extracurricular clubs, school celebrations, and reconnecting with friends and colleagues.”
“I’m really looking forward to a regular school experience this fall and I know there are many, many parents and students in Alberta who are also looking forward to it.”
From September 7, temporary COVID-19 vaccine clinics will be set up in schools for students in grades 7-12, teachers and staff.
If an outbreak occurs in a school, Alberta Health Services may recommend concealment and additional measures to manage the outbreak, according to a government press release.
Catholic and public school boards in Edmonton wrote to LaGrange and Health Secretary Tyler Chandro this week, requesting the authority to impose masks in schools and require people with COVID-19 to isolate.
The letter, which was published Thursday, indicated the spread of a delta variant of the coronavirus, the entry of Canada into the fourth wave of the disease and vaccination rates below what is required for herd immunity.
New COVID-19 cases this week reached their highest level since late May.
Medicare friends said the decision to halt changes that were due to take effect on Monday was a victory for Albertans.
“A six-week delay in removing the most basic of public health measures will allow our healthcare system time to plan and respond to the alarming increase in COVID-19 numbers that Alberta is currently experiencing,” she said in a press release. release.
Watch | A doctor offers his thoughts on Alberta’s latest plan: