Hinshaw believes ‘Open for Summer’ plan has led to increase in COVID cases


Hinshaw said she felt “very responsible” for the story that COVID was somehow over and people could now ignore it. She said she deeply regretted the way it turned out

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Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says she now believes the province’s Open Summer plan has directly led to the current surge in COVID-19 cases.


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Hinshaw made the comments while attending a Zoom meeting with doctors from the Primary Care Network that aired online Monday evening.

The full video has since been pulled, but copies of the livestream have appeared online.

Hinshaw began the meeting acknowledging the frustration, anger and exhaustion felt by the doctors and healthcare workers.

“I just want to thank you for continuing to talk to me,” she said.

During the meeting, she gave her thoughts on what has led to the province’s current “trajectory” of increasing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, which threaten to overwhelm the hospital system.

“I think that trajectory was set when we removed all public health restrictions in July,” she said.

Hinshaw said provinces that have maintained restrictions at the grassroots level to handle interactions and close contact have not seen a significant effect from the contagious Delta variant, which is causing the fourth wave of Alberta.


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Alberta has removed virtually all COVID-19 restrictions such as masking and assembly limits on July 1, with a few exceptions for healthcare facilities.

Premier Jason Kenney and Health Minister Tyler Shandro unveil Open plan for summer as Alberta crosses 70% threshold for first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on June 18, 2021.
Premier Jason Kenney and Health Minister Tyler Shandro unveil Open plan for summer as Alberta crosses 70% threshold for first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on June 18, 2021. Photo by Shaughn Butts /Postmedia

“We have crushed COVID-19, and with the cases falling and the vaccination rate increasing, we are open for the summer,” Premier Jason Kenney said when announcing the plan. “With vaccines on our side, businesses can thrive again and Albertans can resume normal lives. “

The province has since experienced a fourth wave of COVID-19, and the healthcare system is now experiencing a higher demand for intensive care beds than at any time during the pandemic.

As the restrictions were lifted, Hinshaw said they expected a decoupling of cases and hospitalizations due to COVID as the vaccine provided better protection for people.


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“Expectations did not match reality, and very soon after we started this rampant path, we could already see, from comparisons of actual data (numbers) and modeling data in a matter of weeks, that we were not seeing. not the decoupling we expected, ”she said.


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The Government of Alberta began to speak openly that COVID-19 would become endemic in mid-July. On July 28, Hinshaw announced plans to end regular COVID-19 testing and lift isolation requirements for people who test positive for COVID.

However, these plans were canceled days before their planned implementation on August 16. New restrictions, including province-wide masking and a curfew on alcohol sales at licensed establishments, were not introduced until September 4.

Hinshaw said she felt “very responsible” for the story that COVID was somehow over and people could now ignore it. She said she deeply regretted the way it turned out.

She also warned that while she doesn’t know when the fourth wave will peak, we still need to ‘get down to the other side’ of the wave, which means we will still see a significant number of new cases even though the number total cases decreases.


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Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said it was good to see Hinshaw acknowledge the mistakes of the past that have been made. However, he said what is important is how the province will act in response.

“It’s very clear that this (fourth wave) was predictable, it was preventable,” Nenshi said.

The emergency doctor calls for resignation

Calgary ER doctor Dr Joe Vipond said Hinshaw may have taken responsibility, but she did not resign or come up with solutions to the province’s growing fourth wave.

“There was no resignation, which I think is what happens when you make a mistake that kills hundreds of Albertans,” he said, including the actions of Prime Minister Jason Kenney and Minister of Health Tyler Shandro.

“It’s really hard to hear her not offering to provide the necessary solutions to resolve the problem she caused.”


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The province reported 1,434 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the total number of active cases to 18,265.

Nineteen other people are hospitalized. Of the 822 hospitalizations, 212 are in intensive care – the highest number Alberta has seen to date.


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Vipond said the province began to see a further increase in the number of cases two days after the Calgary Stampede ended. The exponential growth “did not magically disappear,” he said.

“This needs to be mitigated with measures. Let’s recognize that nothing has really been done except the mask mandate, which has so many exceptions. “

The province has announced that starting September 16, Albertans will be able to print card-sized proof of vaccination from MyHealth Records or show it on a smartphone.

That doesn’t go far enough given that Alberta’s healthcare system is already overwhelmed, Vipond said.

The number of intensive care patients in Alberta is doubling every 14 days, he said. If this growth continues, Alberta could see 400 intensive care patients by September 28.


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“If we’re at full capacity now, how are we going to handle another doubling? How do we transfer to other provinces when the most adjacent provinces are also overwhelmed? he said, highlighting Manitoba’s decision to airlift patients to hospitals in other provinces due to a rapid increase in intensive care admissions.

“Honestly, I don’t understand how we’re going to get through this without triage. Let’s be explicit: triage means dead people who otherwise should have lived. “

Closing in-person classes at schools is a measure Vipond said he would recommend, especially since Albertans under the age of 12 are not eligible for the vaccine.

“In fact, some of the measures appear to actively encourage infections – things like not informing parents of cases in a child’s classroom.”

Closing meals and drinks in person is another step that could curb transmission, even for those fully vaccinated, he said. The same goes for indoor and outdoor gatherings.

“When you’re in crisis mode, you have to take drastic measures. … These are things that we have done in the past, and they have been proven to work.

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Twitter: @brodie_thomas




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