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Canada must ‘learn from’ the pandemic crisis in parts of the West, says Tam

Canada must ‘learn from’ the pandemic crisis in parts of the West, says Tam

Canada’s head of public health says other provinces must learn from the pandemic crisis in Alberta and Saskatchewan if they are to avoid the disaster that is now hitting the health services in those provinces.

“Do not be complacent,” Theresa Tam said at this morning’s briefing this morning. “We need to be very vigilant about this virus. When you see it accelerating, you need to act fast because I think we need to learn from the situation in Alberta and also in Saskatchewan at the moment.”

On Thursday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney reintroduced strict and sweeping measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 — including a new requirement for people to provide evidence of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to gain access to some corporate and social events.

Alberta has more than 18,000 active COVID-19 cases — the largest in any province right now. There were 877 people in the province’s hospitals with the disease on Wednesday, 218 of them in intensive care. Ontario, with a population more than three times Albertas, had 346 in the hospital, with 188 in intensive care.

“It is now clear that we were wrong, and I’m sorry about that,” Kenney said in the announcement of the new measures.

Tam said that despite a large majority of Canadians being vaccinated, there are still seven million Canadians who have not been vaccinated, and intensive care units in areas where vaccination rates are low fill people in their 40s and 50s. .

“When enough people are infected, even rarer incidents, for example in younger adults, will become common,” she said.

Avoid multiple school stops

Tam said the Canadian Public Health Agency has looked at public health units across the country and found overwhelming evidence that areas with low vaccination rates are experiencing increases in infections.

She said the regions of the country struggling most with pandemic increases are in the West – Alberta, Northern Saskatchewan and northern and inner parts of British Columbia.

“For example, if we want to keep schools open, we need to make sure we manage the virus transmission … to protect children under the age of 12 who cannot be vaccinated at the moment,” she said.

In parts of the country where it is proving difficult to increase the vaccination rate, Tam said, authorities should impose public health restrictions — limiting the number of people who can gather, requiring wearing masks indoors, hand washing and physical distance.

If vaccination rates cannot be increased in these parts of the country and such public health measures are not put in place, Tam said more restrictive measures may need to be implemented — such as lockdowns and home bookings.

“I think jurisdictions need to be prepared for this potential, but if you act early, you can actually avoid the more restrictive measures,” she said.

“But if necessary, more restrictions may need to be put in place, and my colleagues hope that this can be done in a more localized way to avoid the significant effects of widespread restrictions. I think it can be done. ”

Tam said that although no provinces are immune to the highly transmissible delta variant of COVID-19, the provinces of Atlantic Canada have managed to control increases in infection rates by acting “quickly by imposing some localized measures.”

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