'We are at a crossroads': Edmontonians continue calling on province to rethink pandemic response
Crowds gathered outside the legislature for the third straight day to protest Alberta’s latest COVID-19 response plans.
Rallies have been held since Friday in Edmonton and Calgary as the province announced it would scale back contact tracing, limit testing for COVID-19, and lift mandatory isolation rules this month.
Approximately 200 people attended the rally Sunday.
Health Minister Tyler Shandro said last week that the shift from a pandemic to endemic response in Alberta with regards to COVID-19 is due in part to the increasing amount of fully immunized Albertans.
"The data shows that what the vaccines are doing is making it less infectious and less deadly,” he said. “That's a good thing that allows us to move to that endemic response."
- No quarantine for COVID-19 after Aug. 16: Alberta set to end restrictions
- 'The inevitable next step': Alberta health minister defends COVID-19 policy changes
Dr. Sue Reed, physician at the Grey Nuns hospital, said she attended Sunday’s rally because of concern that cases of COVID-19 would continue to spread in the community under the new pandemic policy direction Alberta is set to take later this month.
“I think the most concerning aspect is that we,” Reed shared, “are about to witness the dismantling of the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic which is not over. Stopping testing, tracing, and isolating puts many people at risk.
“I am double vaccinated,” she added. “Many people are not. We have many people who – for a variety of reasons are not vaccinated in this province, including all children under 12.
“Without basic public health measures we cannot protect those people. It’s a frightening prospect.”
- 'Throwing caution to the wind': Experts react to Alberta’s changing quarantine policy
- Doctors express outrage over Alberta's plan to eliminate COVID-19 quarantine rules
- Alberta Medical Association head concerned over government lifting COVID restrictions
Karlee Hren, a teacher, said she attended the rally to lend a voice to students who will be returning to classrooms in the fall.
“They need to feel safe in these schools and know they have people advocating for them,” Hren said.
“The children in this province deserve so much better than what the government is doing.”
Dr. Joe Vipond circulated an internal Alberta Health Services (AHS) email on social media this weekend that said the health authority would cease COVID-19 related screening by 911 dispatchers in mid-July.
“It means the government has prioritized pretending COVID is over, over the health of it’s employees,” Vipond said on Sunday. “It means a lot of sick paramedics and EMTS.”
In a statement to CTV News Edmonton, AHS said EMS is shifting to “readiness and recovery operations” and that “the majority” of paramedics have received both doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are very grateful that our paramedics have this level of protection,” AHS said.
“If our paramedics stop working because they feel unsafe; if our teachers stop working because they feel unsafe; how does this help Alberta?,” Vipond asked.
“We are at a crossroads for this province and if we don’t stand up, we are heading into a very dark period.”
Further rallies are scheduled to continue in both Edmonton and Calgary every day until Aug. 16.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Ryan Harding
Edmonton Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Last in the polls and amid climate crisis, Green Party leader defends record ahead of final election sprint
Green Party Leader Annamie Paul is defending her party's performance in the federal election campaign, with the party trailing in national support polling despite climate change being one of the top issues for voters, in a sit-down interview with CTV National News.
An Afghan journalist, who is now in Qatar, is telling the story of his escape from Afghanistan and his expectations for his life once he reunites with family in Canada.
The capacity of coral reefs around the world to provide essential benefits and services to humans has diminished by half since the 1950s, according to a new study.
With 3 days left until election, O'Toole fixates on vote-splitters and deflects questions on his fate
With three days left in the 2021 federal election campaign and polling suggesting a Liberal win maybe the most likely outcome, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole was laser-focused on one message Friday: a vote for any party other than his is a vote for Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.
An Afghan interpreter has been reunited with her family in Canada after they were able to board one of the last evacuation flights out of Kabul.
A California jury on Friday found multimillionaire real estate heir Robert Durst guilty of murdering his best friend Susan Berman in 2000, the first homicide conviction for a man suspected of killing three people in three states over the past 39 years.
In a letter written to Alberta's education and health ministers, one Calgary school board says it is 'frustrated' by the lack of direction being given to them amid the rising cases of COVID-19's fourth wave.
Alberta's effort in fighting COVID-19 has been given a shot to the arm thanks to a big day of vaccination.
CTV Lethbridge reporter Terry Vogt calls it a career after 49 years of telling southern Alberta stories
Terry Vogt would have liked to be a play-by-play announcer calling Habs games in their glory days, but Danny Gallivan got in the way of that. Somewhere in there Vogt got converted to reporting, and communities across southern Alberta are that much richer because of it.
Saskatchewan’s far north COVID-19 case rate in the last seven days is sitting at 1,180 per 100,000 people – the highest across Canada.
As the province prepares to roll out proof of vaccination, some are concerned that the aging portion of Saskatchewan’s population may not be able to easily adapt to the QR code that is planned on being used.
Seven more Saskatchewan residents have died after testing positive for COVID-19.
Seven more Saskatchewan residents have died after testing positive for COVID-19.
Regina vaccine clinic, rapid testing site dealing with influx of people following COVID-19 announcement
A COVID-19 vaccination clinic and a rapid testing site are dealing with a large amount of people, following Thursday’s announcement from the provincial government on plans to implement a proof of vaccination or a negative test policy.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority's Emergency Operations Centre directed leaders and care teams to move to a second phase of surge plans that include a temporary slowdown of elective procedures province-wide.
The cause of the tragic trailer fire in Millvale, N.S., that killed a family of six has been ruled accidental.
New Brunswick's jump in COVID-19 cases has overloaded the health-care system this week.
A supervisor at a Wendy's restaurant in Sydney, N.S., has pleaded guilty to sexual assault.
Anti-vaccine protesters allegedly entered multiple schools in B.C.'s Shuswap region Friday, prompting strong words from district officials.
It’s now been two weeks since the Vancouver Park Board and provincial officials erected a bright orange fence around Stanley Park to try and deal with aggressive coyotes.
Timmins is developing a registry of historically significant properties.
Student union at Nipissing University launches safety tips for university students partying off campus
With recent sexual assault allegations at Western University, the Nipissing University Student Union is sharing safe partying tips on its social media platforms to offer advice to students.
It won’t be a Sudbury Saturday night, but a Sudbury Saturday afternoon. A local musician is staging a concert this weekend to help a local organization, as well as an important charity.
A restaurant that has been in operation in Winnipeg for 63 years is no more.
A crash closed part of the South Perimeter Highway Friday night.
Winnipeggers might face some delays when driving on the Perimeter Highway Saturday.
Technically, it’s still summer, but Friday felt like winter. The rain fell hard on Southern Vancouver Island, where total precipitation was expected to be in the 35-millimetre range through the evening.
Almost 200 nurses rallied at Premier John Horgan’s constituency office Friday to demand an end to the chronic nursing shortage in B.C. hospitals and patient care facilities.
There are now 6,031 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C., including 700 active cases in the Vancouver Island region, according to the B.C. Health Ministry.
In the three weeks since Ontario unveiled its vaccine certificate program, Premier Doug Ford has been notably absent from the public eye, with the exception of videos posted to social media and a virtual address last week in Toronto.
Police believe the 25-year-old to be violent and advises the public not to approach him if located.
A shooting at a large gathering in Mississauga Friday evening left three people seriously injured, Peel police say.
A spokesperson for the hospital where he died said the man's condition 'deteriorated rapidly.' Friends identified him as Stefanos Govas, a 39-year-old athlete.
McGill University to require vaccine passport for libraries, but many still want it to be mandatory for classes
“The logic of it makes no sense. If you're going to do it in a library, why are you not doing it in a classroom?” said Richard Gold, a McGill University law professor.
In a statement to CTV News, the Lakeshore Hospital confirmed that two its operating rooms have had to shut down “in order to address the increase in COVID-19 cases in the ICU.”
London police are asking the public for information after locating a vehicle believed to be involved in the shooting death of Lynda Cruz Marques a week ago.
The Thames Valley District School Board is reporting 92 per cent of educators and support staff who filled out attestations, are fully or partially vaccinated.
Police in London, Ont. are expected to lay an additional charge in relation to the death of Gabriel Neil, but are still looking for the suspect.
Waterloo regional police are investigating after a man was found with injuries in a Kitchener apartment building lobby.
The Downtown Kitchener Ribfest and Craft Beer Show is welcoming guests at Victoria Park from Friday to Sunday after it was cancelled last year due to the pandemic.