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ER doc concerned Alberta reopening plan moves too fast

Last Updated May 28, 2021 at 7:32 am MDT

FILE - In this March 19, 2021 file photo, a healthcare worker lends against a wall in the corridor of an ICU unit for COVID-19 patients at the Hospital das Clinicas, in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The number of Brazilian states with ICU capacity above 90% has slipped from 17 months ago, according to data from the state-run Fiocruz medical research institute. (AP Photo/Jefferson Bernardes, File)

CALGARY – An ER doctor in Calgary says the province’s relaunch plan is too aggressive and is moving too fast.

He says more time is needed between stages to look at the impacts.

Alberta’s new relaunch plan will move into stage two with fewer restrictions once 60 per cent of people get at least one dose of the vaccine.

Stage three, which would see the rest of the remaining restrictions lifted, is slated to go ahead when 70 per cent of Albertans have at least one shot.

Emergency doctor Joe Vipond says the timeline is too condensed.

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“[We need more time] to think about what we can do to mitigate risk and we know that other jurisdictions in Canada have had a much more cautious approach to reopening,” he said.

He says instead of two weeks between stages, there should be three weeks.

He says there are three reasons why the COVID-19 numbers are dropping right now, not just because people are lining up to get jabbed.

“Schools have been closed for a long period of time, they’re dropping because of restrictions, and they’re dropping because of vaccines,” he said.

“And my sense is the government is just presuming that most of this drop is vaccine-related only.”

Vipond also mentions his concerns over variants, saying the vaccines protect well against the original strain, but they’re not as effective with the variants.

Vipond isn’t the only Albertan concerned over the speedy reopening plan.

On Thursday, Alberta’s former top doctor also said the plan moves too fast and that reopening before we’re ready can turn major events like the Stampede into super-spreaders.

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Edmonton’s mayor also echoed some of these concerns, adding he’d be basing Edmonton’s reopening on medical guidance, not “festival enthusiasm.”

-with files from Craig Lester, Darcy Ropchan, CityNews Edmonton