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Rural Alberta healthcare workers concerned with removal of COVID-19 restrictions

Rural Alberta healthcare workers concerned with removal of COVID-19 restrictions

The pandemic remains a significant public health emergency, the workers say

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

A group of doctors, nurses and pharmacists from Peace River, Alta. have written a letter to the community expressing concern over the provincial government’s decision to lift COVID-19 public health measures.

Two weeks ago, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medial officer of health, announced the end of contact tracing and that close contacts of people who test positive for the virus won’t need to isolate.

Rural Alberta doctor letter

And starting Aug. 16, people who test positive won’t need to quarantine and testing will only be required for severe symptoms.

Lifting these measures is going to put more Albertans at risk of contracting the virus. Especially people who are unvaccinated.

“With the increased ease of transmission, the removal of public health measures puts unvaccinated and not fully vaccinated people, who make up 60 per cent of the Peace River area population, at risk of contracting COVID and experiencing severe disease, hospitalization, or death,” 11 rural Alberta doctors, nurses and pharmacists said in their Aug. 9 letter.

Available government data shows 8,673 people, or 46.6 per cent of the population of Peace River, has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Receiving a vaccine is the best way to receive protection from severe illness from COVID, the healthcare professionals wrote. This is in addition to masking and distancing and the government continuing to test, trace and require isolation when necessary.

“The ability of the healthcare system to accurately follow rising case counts allows us to minimize the spread of infection to our families and friends…,” the letter reads

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