Alberta is lifting much of its remaining COVID-19 restrictions in the coming days as the disease continues to infect unvaccinated Albertans.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw, in her first appearance since June 29, said the province will shift its public health response and lift a number of measures related to quarantine, isolation and masks.
Starting Thursday, close contacts of COVID-19 cases will no longer be mandated to quarantine, but isolation will still be required for positive cases and people with symptoms.
On Aug. 16, people who test positive for COVID-19 will not be mandated to quarantine anymore, but the province will recommend it. Albertans with COVID-19 symptoms will not be asked to get tested, but to stay at home until they feel better. And two weeks later, COVID-19 tests will only be available to people who need to go to the hospital or see a physician.
Masks won’t be mandatory in public transit, rideshares and taxies starting on Aug. 16, the province announced. Some masking may still be required in hospitals or continuing care facilities.
‘PLEASE GET VACCINATED’
Hinshaw reported 194 new cases of COVID-19 and a positivity rate of 2.9 per cent in her update.
“Cases have risen recently, almost entirely in those who have not been fully vaccinated as we expected would likely happen as people come into close contact with each other again,” Hinshaw said.
Since July 1, when the province lifted the large majority of its restrictions, people not fully immunized accounted for 95 per cent of COVID-19 cases, 94 per cent of hospitalizations and 95 per cent of deaths caused by the disease, Hinshaw added.
As of Tuesday, 75.6 per cent of eligible Albertans had one dose and 64.3 per cent were fully immunized.
“We still need to increase those numbers but this is encouraging progress,” Hinshaw told media.
There are 84 Albertans with COVID-19 in hospital and 18 in ICU. Only one of the ICU patients has two doses, Hinshaw said.
“Please get vaccinated. If you haven’t gotten both your doses yet, this is your time.”