Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu has sent a letter to her Alberta counterpart saying she shares her concerns about the province’s plan to lift all COVID-19 health restrictions.
In the letter to Alberta Health Minister Tyler Chandro, Hajdu said she agreed with the Canadian Pediatric Society’s description of the move as an “unnecessary and risky gamble.”
Chandro hit back on Thursday, accusing Hajdu of unfairly targeting Alberta for political gain.
“It is ironic that while Min Hajdu has been sending the supposed letter of concern, its president is preparing to roam the country for his opportunistic election,” said a statement from Chandro.
Liberals are currently roaming the country spending your tax money in elections by criticizing regional governments when it is politically convenient for them to do so. 1/9
In Hajdu’s letter, sent on Sunday, she said recent Alberta modeling anticipates a more serious resurgence of delta-fueled COVID-19 cases and that all governments need to take reasonable steps to protect Canadians.
“It is now incumbent on all governments across Canada to be vigilant and vigilant, to keep everyone safe in our jurisdictions and neighboring countries as well,” she wrote.
Hajdu says she wants to better understand the science and rationale behind Alberta’s decision.
Last week, the county ended contact tracing and said that close contacts of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 are not required to be isolated. From August 16, those infected will no longer need to be quarantined.
Chandro and Premier Jason Kenny said Alberta’s chief medical officer for health, Dr. Dina Henshaw, had come up with a plan to remove the restrictions and were clear about their causes. The government says decisions are based on science and data.
Watch | Alberta’s chief medical officer of health discusses a plan to lift restrictions.
on CBC’s power politics, Hinshaw said Alberta Health is working to release new modeling data that shows COVID-19 cases are likely to rise, but the health system won’t sink.
Henshaw said Alberta should turn its resources back to other public health threats, such as lowering child immunization rates and syphilis.
The pediatrician says that children first need to be vaccinated
About 66 percent of eligible Albertans have been fully vaccinated. Children under 12 are still not immunized, leading the Canadian Pediatric Society to appeal to Alberta to keep procedures in place.
Dr. Rafael Sharon, director of the association in Alberta and a pediatrician in Edmonton, says it is reasonable to ask the province to maintain requirements for isolation, mass testing and contact tracing until children are vaccinated.
“We’re close. But we’re not there yet so it’s too early to take a foot off the gas,” he said.
While Hinshaw and the government have said sports injuries are taking more children into emergency rooms than COVID-19, Sharon said that’s an unfair comparison. He said a child with a sports injury could not pass the infection on to her grandfather.
Sharon said that when public testing is over, he will have no way of knowing children coughing and sneezing in his waiting room could expose other people to COVID-19.
The government plans to track COVID-19 trends by monitoring and testing wastewater at community clinics across the county.
Some Hinshaw counterparts are taking a more cautious approach. On Thursday, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Robert Strang, said it would be too early to start managing COVID-19 as if it were any other respiratory illness.
Concern about the epidemiological turn in Alberta has led to daily protests in Edmonton and Calgary since last week.
Emily Kent, the mother of a young child and a speech-language pathologist, was among the protesters outside the provincial legislature on Thursday.
She said the county is abdicating its responsibility to protect people at risk from COVID-19.
“I am grateful that there are people in the federal government who are looking for Albertans right now who are concerned, and very concerned, by the kind of trials that are going on,” Kent said.