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Alberta health minister defends scaling back of COVID-19 quarantine measures

Last Updated Jul 29, 2021 at 11:35 am MDT

Health Minister Tyler Shandro announces a $15-million program to offer the CAR T-cell cancer treatment in the province. Aug. 24, 2020 (PHOTO: Tom Ross, 660 NEWS)

EDMONTON – Alberta’s health minister is defending the province’s plan to eliminate COVID-19 protocols like mandatory isolations for positive cases.

Tyler Shandro was peppered with questions at an event on Thursday after Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced the province would be scaling back the measures preventing virus spread.

“The pressures on the health system and our concerns about protecting lives are change and moving to an endemic response,” Shandro said.

“We and Dr. Hinshaw have been talking about the transition from the pandemic response to the endemic response.”

Quarantine for close contacts will no be longer mandatory–only recommended.

READ MORE: Mandatory COVID-19 isolation rules in Alberta to lift next month

Shandro says while it may be hard for some to believe, Hinshaw’s proposal to remove quarantine measures was based in data.

He told reporters vaccination numbers have led the province to making the decision.

“We are leading the way in moving to the endemic response, like we’ve led the way throughout the response to the pandemic quite frankly,” he said.

“I think other provinces know that this is going to be the inevitable next step in Canada for all provinces.”

Several doctors have voiced their concerns on social media, some saying it’s a decision that’s both anti-science and anti-public health.

RELATED: Alberta’s plan to scrap isolation for COVID-positive cases draws criticism

Part of the new plan would see children going back to school unmasked and without any requirement to isolate if tested positive for COVID-19.

Shandro was asked whether he’d be comfortable sending his own kids to school under that new plan.

“Yeah. My children both go to public school, one of them is still in elementary, the other is in junior high,” Shandro responded.

“And I’m deferential to Dr. Hinshaw and her work, and absolutely I would be [comfortable sending my kids to school].”

So far 64.3 per cent of eligible Albertans (12+) have received both shots of the vaccine.

First doses are at 75.6 per cent province-wide.