OHS Canada Magazine

Alberta’s ‘Open For Summer’ plan was premature: chief medical officer of health 


Alberta’s top doctor says the province’s “Open For Summer” plan set the trajectory for a crushing fourth wave of COVID-19.

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw told a conference call with doctors Monday that lifting all restrictions in July was the wrong move.

She said provinces that kept base-level restrictions to manage spread of the virus are faring better than Alberta is now.

“Obviously, Alberta is in a significant crisis state right now,” said Hinshaw. “Delta has spread much more quickly and has had more severe outcomes than we anticipated.”

She said available data in July on COVID-19 spread and outcomes, mixed with vaccine uptake, led her to believe it was an appropriate time to open the province.

Advertisement

“The expectations did not match the reality,” said Hinshaw, who noted officials did not see the expected decoupling of case rates compared to hospitalizations. “(We) really had to shift and walk back about, `OK, we’re not ready yet, need to take more time.”’

Hinshaw said she “deeply regrets” how comments she made in July led some Albertans to believe COVID-19 was over and could be impacting the amount of people getting tested.

She also acknowledged frustrations by health-care workers with the United Conservative government’s handling of the pandemic.

Alberta recorded record-high intensive care admissions on Monday and a case count that is still growing, driven by the Delta variant.

Government spokesman Harrison Fleming said the United Conservative COVID-19 committee was meeting Tuesday and a caucus meeting was to follow.