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Alberta schools will now count anyone sick at home as a COVID case

Students in Alberta who call out sick will be counted as COVID-19 cases as infections in the Canadian province surge – causing furious parents to accuse government officials of fear-mongering to maintain their grip on power after the new ruling by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.  

‘If individuals choose not to get tested for COVID-19 but are home with an illness they are now counted in the list as being part of that outbreak, and so it’s less dependent on needing a test to be part of identifying where there is an issue,’ said Deena Hinshaw, the province’s top doctor, on Thursday.   

In August, Hinshaw apologized for treating the pandemic as an ‘endemic’ in the early stages of COVID and for the fear and uncertainty that followed in the months after.  

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Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw said on Thursday schools were to assume anyone at home was a positive case of COVID-19, in order to promptly alarm public health agencies of an outbreak

Hinshaw faced questions about the current framework to handle Coronavirus outbreaks in Alberta schools

Hinshaw faced questions about the current framework to handle Coronavirus outbreaks in Alberta schools 

In Alberta schools, students who come in contact with others infected with COVID-19 are not required to quarantine and a contract tracing measure is not in place. 

The government has also announced that data on how many schools have COVID-19 outbreaks will not be released, prompting outrage from parents who feel they have the right to know. 

Hinshaw said the current framework had been implemented based on previous evidence from other jurisdictions. 

She has said it is necessary for schools to assume anyone at home is a positive case of COVID-19 because obtaining data on COVID-19 transmissions from pubic health agencies would violate the privacy of students and staff. 

Hinshaw insisted that the method was in place so schools could promptly alarm public health officials of a possible outbreak, in order to add an extra layer of protection and mitigate the spread.

'In schools, we are taking the approach that an illness that fits that definition - respiratory illness- is treated the same way whether it is COVID or not, so additional measures can be put into place,' Hinshaw said

‘In schools, we are taking the approach that an illness that fits that definition – respiratory illness- is treated the same way whether it is COVID or not, so additional measures can be put into place,’ Hinshaw said

There were 1,061 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Alberta on Thursday

There were 1,061 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Alberta on Thursday

Users on Twitter disapproved of the measure they deemed alarmist and panic-driven

Users on Twitter disapproved of the measure they deemed alarmist and panic-driven

Ezra Levant, a reporter for Rebel News, shared a clip of Hinshaw  and called the public health system in Alberta 'corrupt'

Ezra Levant, a reporter for Rebel News, shared a clip of Hinshaw  and called the public health system in Alberta ‘corrupt’ 

Another user wrote: 'Broken leg, refuse covid test, counted as a Covid case. FFS, the world is careering down a very dark path. How are they getting away with this, why are journalists not taking them to task?'

Another user wrote: ‘Broken leg, refuse covid test, counted as a Covid case. FFS, the world is careering down a very dark path. How are they getting away with this, why are journalists not taking them to task?’

‘In schools, we are taking the approach that an illness that fits that definition – respiratory illness- is treated the same way whether it is COVID or not, so additional measures can be put into place,’ Hinshaw said.  

Social media users on Twitter disapproved of the measure they deemed alarmist and panic-driven. 

Ezra Levant, a reporter for Rebel News, shared a clip of Hinshaw and tweeted: ‘To maintain a mass psychology of panic and fear, Alberta’s corrupt public health bureaucrat now automatically counts anyone staying home from any illness as a Covid case.’

Others complained about the continued restrictions. 

‘These ‘So Called Experts’ are power hungry and will never give us back our freedoms,’ said Dougle Affan.

Another user wrote: ‘Broken leg, refuse covid test, counted as a Covid case. FFS, the world is careering down a very dark path. How are they getting away with this, why are journalists not taking them to task?’

In Alberta schools, students who come in contact with others infected with COVID-19 are not required to quarantine and a contract tracing measure is not in place

In Alberta schools, students who come in contact with others infected with COVID-19 are not required to quarantine and a contract tracing measure is not in place

There are currently 22,320 COVID-19 cases and 2,622 people have died of of the illness since the pandemic started in Alberta

There are currently 22,320 COVID-19 cases and 2,622 people have died of of the illness since the pandemic started in Alberta

Alberta, a province that aggressively advertised its ‘best summer ever,’ is now struggling with a surge in COVID-19 cases.   

With its healthcare system strained, and anti-vaccine and anti-mask sentiments growing among residents, public health officials are urging politicians to improve the loose restrictions that are in place. 

There were 1,061 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Alberta on Thursday. Of the 818 non-ICU, 75.5% were unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. Of the 243 in ICU, 91.7%  were unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.  

More than 60 doctors penned a letter to  premier Jason Kenney, who has fervently opposed a lockdown, warning him about the dire conditions and low-room capacity at hospitals. 

‘Our healthcare system is truly on the precipice of collapse. Hospitals and ICUs across the province are under enormous strain and have reached a point where it is unclear if, or for how much longer, we can provide safe care for Albertans.’ The Guardian reported. 

A public health emergency has now been declared and military help has been requested to transport patients to others provinces as hospitals are working on full capacity.  

In August, Hinshaw apologized for treating the pandemic as an 'endemic' in the early stages of COVID and for the fear and uncertainty that followed in the months after

In August, Hinshaw apologized for treating the pandemic as an ‘endemic’ in the early stages of COVID and for the fear and uncertainty that followed in the months after

As Alberta hit another grim COVID-19 record Thursday, chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw recommended that unvaccinated or partially vaccinated close contacts should quarantine if there is a positive case in their home

As Alberta hit another grim COVID-19 record Thursday, chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw recommended that unvaccinated or partially vaccinated close contacts should quarantine if there is a positive case in their home

Kenney has retracted his triumphant approach during the summer but still refused to order a lockdown because it made ‘no sense for the 80 percent of the population that is vaccinated.’

‘I know that we had all hoped this summer that we could put Covid behind us once and for all, that was certainly my hope,’ he said. ‘It is now clear that we were wrong, and for that I apologize.’

Kenney introduced some restrictions and promised to give more resources to hospitals when cases rose exponentially, but it was too little too late, medical officials have said. 

In Alberta, there are currently 22,320 COVID-19 cases and 2,622 people have died of of the illness since the pandemic started. In May, the province had the worst rate of COVID-19 in North America  


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