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Alberta's plan to scrap isolation for COVID-positive cases draws criticism

Last Updated Jul 29, 2021 at 1:53 pm MDT

CALGARY – Dozens of doctors are taking to social media, sharing their opinions on Alberta’s announcement to roll back all COVID-19 protocols.

The province announced that beginning Thursday, quarantine for close contacts will shift from mandatory to recommended.

And beginning Aug. 16, isolation following a positive COVID-19 test will no longer be required, although strongly recommended, and quarantine support will no longer be available.

READ MORE: Several COVID-19 protocols rolled back in Alberta beginning Thursday

Province-imposed masking mandates will also be lifted in August.

Medical experts say they’re against the decision.

The most striking comment made by a couple of doctors is the fact that there is nowhere else in the entire world–except now in Alberta–where you don’t have to isolate after testing positive for the virus.

Doctors online argue this decision is anti-science and anti-public health.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Leyla Asadi says the government is gambling with public safety.

“The choice isn’t between going back to lockdowns or stopping all public health interventions for a novel pathogen against which only 64 per cent of the pop. is immunized,” she tweeted.

“We could have continued testing/tracing/isolating, we could have added on rapid tests, undertaken airborne mitigation strategies with better masks/ventilation/filtration, we could have paid people to take time off when sick.”

She added in her thread that more small vaccine incentives could be offered instead of only large prizes. She offers up “something as small as a grocery store voucher”.

Asadi also says the province could implement vaccine passports and mandate vaccines for health care workers.

“Don’t let them fool you into thinking they’re taking a brave libertarian stance for freedom or some sort of forward-thinking economically focused strategy,” she wrote.

“Look around at the world and see what is possible. And then look what our province is offering us.”

Dr. Abdu Sharkawy says he is sickened by the news.

“The province I was born in…has abandoned science, public safety for desperate politicking. I am literally sickened,” he tweeted.

Infectious diseases clinician and researcher Dr. Ilan Schwartz tweeted that the government’s new approach is “insanely bad.”

Dr. Andrew Baback Boozary says what’s happening in Alberta affects everyone.

“This may simply be the biggest policy disconnect yet,” Boozary tweeted. “Solidarity with health workers across country and hoping for a shift to evidence soon.”

He added that the new approach is anti-science and anti-public health.

Biostatistician Ryan Imgrund echoes Boozary’s concerns.

Intensive care Dr. Darren Markland called the Alberta government’s decision a business decision, arguing the government has never down the right thing during COVID-19.

Emergency room Dr. Joe Vipond points out children are about to start school again. They won’t have to wear masks or isolate if they have COVID-19.

“How do we keep our kids safe once schools start?” Vipond asks on Twitter.

The responses go on, many more doctors saying this decision doesn’t make sense especially as we see cases start to rise again not just in the province but globally.