EDMONTON - The head of the Alberta Medical Association says he has significant concerns with the province's decision to suspend almost all of its COVID-19 public health protocols.

In an open letter to members, Paul Boucher says the pace at which the United Conservative government is ending restrictions is troubling.

He says the government should release the data on which the decision was made.

Boucher adds the government's planned reliance on hospitalization data and monitoring wastewater for viruses isn't likely to provide enough information on the spread of COVID-19, especially as new variants take over.

The letter says easing back restrictions more slowly would be safer, easier on the health care system and cause less public worry.

Boucher says Alberta will eventually have to move away from pandemic measures, but concludes the government is doing so too quickly.

"The pace at which public health measures are ending is troubling," he writes.

"I do not disagree that moving from pandemic state to endemic state is the future but would strongly advocate for a less precipitous approach."

Boucher says he has shared his concerns with the province.

This week, Alberta announced that close contacts of people who test positive for COVID-19 are no longer legally required to isolate, nor are they notified by contact tracers.

As of Aug. 16, infected individuals won't need to isolate. Testing will also be curtailed.

The moves come as the province's active case numbers and infection rate increases.

The lifting of Alberta's restrictions has been viewed with concern by other top doctors.

Canada's Chief Medical Officer of Health Theresa Tam has warned against opening too quickly. The Canadian Pediatric Society has written to her Alberta counterpart Dr. Deena Hinshaw urging her to reconsider.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2021.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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