Alberta Abandons Mask Mandates, Testing & Isolation Requirements

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw JASON FRANSON / THE CANADIAN PRESS/FILE PHOTO

In Brief

  • The Facts:
    • The Government of Alberta Canada announced that it will lift virtually all COVID mandates starting Aug 16th.

    • This includes most mask mandates, isolation and testing requirements for people in the province.

    • Alberta's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said COVID is here to stay, so we must learn to live with it.

  • Reflect On:

    Are we starting to see a shift in decision making that is now more in line with what the science has shown?

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Updated Aug 6th, 9:30AM

What Happened: The government of Alberta, Canada, will lift most mask mandates and virtually all testing as well as isolation requirements by August 16th. According to Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, COVID is not going anywhere and it’s here to stay, and because of that, it’s something we’re going to have to learn to live with. This comes after Albert had already lifted nearly all COVID restrictions on July 1, 2021.

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Much of the harsh criticism she received since, which is being expressed by mainstream media, came from her announcement that by mid-August Alberta will no longer require facemasks in most indoor settings and for ride-sharing, taxis, transit and will not mandate them in schools. Those who test positive for COVID-19 will not be required to isolate, but will strongly recommend that they do. Contact tracers won’t be telling close contacts who may have been exposed, either.

Dr. Hinshaw made her decision clear, and addressed a number of concerns, in a recent column she wrote here.

“I am hearing 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,” “That was not my intended message,” she said. “We will not eliminate COVID, which means we need to learn how to live with it.”

Dr. Deena Hinshaw

All this being said, some measures will remain for various high risk settings, a type of “focused protection” plan that has been preached by The Great Barrington Declaration since the beginning of this pandemic.

She also addressed concerns raised by parents of young children. She compared the risk of severe outcomes for children from COVID-19 to those experienced in sports injuries, which is higher than COVID for kids in the five-to-14 age group, and the flu, which is about the same for kids nine and under.

“We navigate risks for our children every day, and looking at how COVID-19 risks for kids compare with other risks is important to help inform the way forward. For example, for kids 0 to 9, the risk of an ICU admission for seasonal influenza in the year before COVID was roughly equal to their risk of an ICU admission for COVID. In another example, kids aged 5 to 14 had a 140 times greater risk of an emergency department visit for a sports related injury in 2019 than their risk of COVID-related hospital admission since March of 2020. This doesn’t mean we should ignore the risk to kids from any of these things, but I believe it means we should consider COVID risk in context of all other risks that we face.”

Dr. Deena Hinshaw

Why It Matters: Despite the fact that Alberta is being criticized by virtually all mainstream media outlets and politicians who have addressed the decision – but they are also supported by many.

Those who have been constantly turning to mainstream media for their COVID news might feel like this decision goes against the science and the will of the majority. But it does not. It is one of few moves made by authorities that is in fact inline with the science, and there are huge portions of the population who do not agree with all measures being taken.

Perhaps one of the reasons why this may be a shock to some is because when it comes to data and science, we have failed to have appropriate conversations within the mainstream about the efficacy and dangers of lockdowns, masks, social distancing and other measures that have been used to combat the pandemic. One side that supports these measures seems to be given all of the spotlight, while evidence, data and opinion that contradicts these measures is rarely acknowledged, leading to a public who is uninformed.

For example, you like won’t hear about a recently published meta-analysis that examined potential health consequences of extended mask use and determined that there are multiple concerns and possible health consequences that can arise as a result. You won’t hear much about the harms of lockdowns, concerns with PCR testing accuracy or why so many people are vaccine hesitant.

Due to this lack of balance in covered, many don’t have a clear understand of what’s going on. We covered this in detail in our discussion about how fact checking and censorship has shut down public dialogue.

The Takeaway: We have to be able to properly discuss these things with each other and empathize with a viewpoint that contradicts our own. When so many people are in disagreement, should the government simply be making recommendations instead of mandates, like Alberta has decided to do?

Should we really be giving governments the authority and power that’s required to force these types of mandates on people? How justified, by science, have these mandates been? If arguments opposing these mandates are mere “conspiracy theories,” then why is there so much evidence to support them and why do so many experts believe them?

When in history have the ones working so hard to censor the perspectives of other people been doing what’s best for the general public?

Update: We looked heavily into the Patrick King case related to this. We consulted our own resident legal expert, as well as a couple of others, and feel King’s case is not related to this Alberta decision. Firstly, Alberta had eased almost all COVID restrictions, including dropping most mask mandates, on July 1st, well before King’s court case. They announced in June they would do this, and this latest move was on track with previous decisions. As our legal experts have pointed out, King seems to have not been clear on what “no material evidence” refers to in his case. This led to the false assumption that the government admitted the COVID virus doesn’t exist, when that in fact is not what’s being said in this legal proceeding. The reference to “no material evidence” refers to King’s failure to present material evidence (material here meaning relevant) to substantiate his defense.

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