Hinshaw blames Alberta’s fourth wave trajectory on ‘open for summer’ plan


Alberta’s chief medical officer of health has admitted the province’s lifting of restrictions earlier this summer was the wrong approach.

In a candid conversation with Primary Care Network doctors held Monday, Dr. Deena Hinshaw accepted responsibility for the fact a percentage of Albertans believe the pandemic is over.

Hinshaw began her Monday night online address to the Primary Care Networks, comprised of Alberta physicians, with a humble “Thank you for still talking to me.”

She acknowledged the frustration and anger of health-care workers over the provincial government’s handling of the pandemic.

With Alberta now in a crisis situation, as intensive care unit admissions have topped 200,  Hinshaw admitted the trajectory of the fourth wave can be blamed on the province’s decision to lift all pandemic restrictions at the start of July.

“I think if we look at the experiences of all the different provinces across the country, those that have kept the base level restrictions, to manage the interactions and close contacts, are the ones that are not seeing a significant impact,” said Hinshaw.

She adds that provinces that removed restrictions are experiencing a steep rise in COVID-19 cases, and are seeing their health care systems reach critical levels.

Hinshaw also talked about the fourth wave, confirming health officials are seeing the highest amount of community transmission since the start of the pandemic. The severity of the fourth wave is being blamed on the Delta variant. Hinshaw says if she had known how bad it was going to be, the plan to remove contact tracing would not have come into effect as early as it did.

On the topic of vaccine passports, Hinshaw did not give a direct answer, but did reference data from neighbouring B.C. She says since its announcement two weeks ago, B.C. has seen an increase in the younger population getting vaccinated. She says it shows that requiring vaccination to participate in discretionary activities has pushed demographics with the lowest immunization rates to get the shot. 

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