Eliminating COVID-19 restrictions and asymptomatic testing in Alberta while the Delta variant strikes hard in the United States is concerning, says a Red Deer family doctor.
“Compared to the other ones, it’s quite bad. It’s a bad variant and it’s rough on young people,” said Dr. Peter Bouch, with Red Deer Primary Care Network.
“Some of the states are going back to mandatory masking and they’re not that far south from us. There are some travel restrictions, but not a huge amount.”
As of Aug. 16, infected individuals won’t need to isolate in Alberta. Testing will also be curtailed.
Bouch said eliminating mandatory quarantining for those exposed to a known case of the Delta variant is kind of silly.
“Even if you’ve been vaccinated, you probably need to be quarantined for at least seven to 10 days. But that isn’t mandatory at all.”
He said people can be carriers and feel quite fine.
“It’s going to be interesting to see what’s going to happen when it comes.”
Dr. Paul Boucher, president of the Alberta Medical Association, recently alerted Health Minister Tyler Shandro about his concerns with the province’s plans to ease COVID-19 restrictions.
“The pace at which public health measures are ending is troubling,” said Boucher in a public statement calling for a “less precipitous approach” for the safety of Albertans, manageability for the health care system, and to ease public anxiety.
He warned of an over-reliance on hospitalizations and ICU admissions when it comes to the spread of COVID.
“I am worried that this will lag too far behind spread of the virus in the community. By the time patients land in hospital or ICU, community care may be overrun.”
He said the expectation that community clinics will perform COVID-19 testing once public assessment facilities close also needs clarification.
“Not all community practices are in a position to administer testing. Those that are, will require support including remuneration, personal protective equipment and proper infection prevention and control protocols and supplies.”
Canada’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Theresa Tam has warned against opening too quickly. The Canadian Pediatric Society has written to her Alberta counterpart Dr. Deena Hinshaw urging her to reconsider.
— With files from The Canadian Press