Province reducing number of possible COVID-19 symptoms barring students from class

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“The Alberta NDP have been calling for a cap on class sizes since July. Now, with outbreaks at an all-time high, we see a loosening of restrictions on symptoms,” said education critic Sarah Hoffman.

“Today’s announcement from the chief medical officer of health comes on the heels of a substantial lack of leadership and support from the premier and minister of education for a safe school reopening.”

NDP education critic Sarah Hoffman. Photo by Shaughn Butts /Postmedia

The NDP also accused the Kenney government of failing to ensure enough COVID-19 tests are being conducted or meeting its target of 20,000 per day set in May.

“Just as we are entering the second wave of this pandemic, and with new case counts nearly double the levels seen during the first wave, Jason Kenney is failing to execute on this strategy to keep Albertans safe,” said health critic David Shepherd.

But Hinshaw said numbers of tests that have dropped from as much 25,000 early in the month to 10,600 in recent days is partly due to a policy to waive testing for those not showing symptoms.

That’s improved the turnaround time for results among those who have been tested, she added.

Meanwhile a new group consisting mainly of Alberta physicians renewed their call on the province to tighten restrictions as the number of cases and hospitalizations surges.

Closing indoor service for restaurants and bars should be considered, along with universal mandatory masking throughout the province, said the group Masks4Canada — Alberta.

“Voluntary measures don’t work — this idea that we have to do it piecemeal doesn’t work,” said Dr. Joe Vipond, referring to mandatory mask laws that cover only some municipalities.

Hinshaw on Thursday insisted the province is being proactive by limiting the number of people in social gatherings to 15 this week following hospitalization and case increases.

Twitter: @BillKaufmannjrn

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