Alberta’s Chief Health Officer says the province is now counting sick people who have not received a COVID test as COVID cases anyway. Speaking at a press conference, Chief Health Officer Deena Hinshaw said that schools observing an uptick in students missing school due to illness can work with the government and receive COVID-related aid.
“If individuals choose to not get tested for COVID but are home with an illness, they’re now counted in the list as being part of that outbreak,” Hinshaw said. “And so it’s less dependent on needing a test to be a part of identifying where there is an issue,” she added in regards to COVID outbreaks.
According to government data, 72% of Alberta’s population is fully vaccinated while 82% have received at least one dose. Despite the high vaccination rate, the province is setting records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and ICU admissions. “We have never, ever had that number of total patients in ICU before. Never with the prior waves and never in the history of this province,” Dr. Verna Yiu, president, and CEO of Alberta Health Services said last week. The province is currently adding upwards of 1,000 new cases a day.
Alberta, which is Canada’s fourth-most populous province, currently has a vaccine passport system that applies to restaurants, bars, gyms, large gatherings, and several other events and venues. Some have called for hard lockdown measures, including the closure of said venues for up to four weeks. Hinshaw urged Albertans to get vaccinated and sign up for the vaccine passport system.
“We are at a critical time & need ABs to do all they can to help reduce strain on the health system. We need ppl to abide by current restrictions & not look for ways around the rules,” Hinshaw wrote in a tweet. “I want to thank the majority of ABs who continue to do the right thing, getting vaccinated &downloading their proof of vaccination,” she added in a follow-up tweet.