People who test positive will no longer be required to isolate as of next week.
The first phase took place on July 29 and adjusted health protocols to make quarantine no longer mandatory for close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases. On that day, asymptomatic testing for close contacts also ended.
The next set of changes are slated to begin on August 16. Starting on that date, "isolation will no longer be universally, legally required if you test positive for COVID-19, although it may be required in some high-risk settings. It will, however, continue to be recommended in all settings," said Hinshaw.
Other changes include the end of provincial mask mandates on transit, taxis, and ride-shares and the lifting of the requirement to seek testing if you have mild symptoms.
In a letter issued by Dr. Hinshaw on August 4, the health official noted that some Albertans have been responding to the changes with "confusion, fear or anger" and that "the message people received from my words was that I think COVID is over, and that people are being left on their own to deal with it."
Update on COVID-19 – July 28, 2021 www.youtube.com
Dr. Hinshaw's response
Hinshaw's letter said, "that was not my intended message, so I want to share some of the rationale behind the changes and why I believe this course of action will support the whole health of Albertans."
She noted that Alberta's COVID-19 response had "unintended consequences" and that she needs to focus not only on COVID-19 but all threats to the health of Albertans. She noted syphilis and opioid deaths as other things that the province needs to focus on.
"As vaccine coverage has changed the nature of the province-wide risk of COVID-19, it is time, in my opinion, to shift from provincewide extraordinary measures to more targeted and local measures," she wrote.
Hinshaw said that testing every person with symptoms is not sustainable, nor is mandating everyone to stay home if they have symptoms.
As for the need to isolate if you test positive for COVID-19, Hinshaw said "I know the vast majority of Albertans do not want to knowingly inflict harm on others. I believe that for those who test positive for COVID-19, knowing that staying home is the way to protect others, and is the right thing to do, will be enough for them to take that action."