The Alberta government will soon be announcing relaxed quarantine and self-isolation guidelines for vaccinated Albertans, Premier Jason Kenney said.
Kenney alluded to a forthcoming announcement at a press conference Monday afternoon.
“I anticipate later this week we’ll be announcing potentially a relaxation of self-isolation and quarantine requirements with respect to people–based on whether they’ve had a first or second dose of the vaccine–that will reflect the lower level of threat, or lower level of risk that they pose,” Kenney said.
Current provincial guidelines require Albertans who have been exposed to COVID-19 to quarantine for 14 days even if they have tested negative for the virus themselves. While Alberta does not mandate a quarantine for interprovincial travel, Albertans are subject to the federally mandated 14-day quarantine if they enter Alberta from outside the country.
Kenney ruled out further exemptions to public health guidelines for vaccinated people, such as allowing them to gather with other vaccinated people, saying that the speed of Alberta’s vaccination rollout makes it “simpler” to keep the same restrictions in place for everyone.
“Our overall vaccine numbers are now moving so quickly that I think it would be a lot simpler for us to focus just on overall population immunity,” Kenney said, noting that 50% of eligible Albertans will have been vaccinated with one dose by tomorrow, with 800,000 appointments booked.
Kenney anticipated 70% of the eligible population will be vaccinated by June, allowing for a “broad reopening later this summer.”
“If we were to tie specific public health measures to whether you’ve been vaccinated, like, let’s say, wearing a mask, then what happens?” Kenney said. “Do employers have to go around and validate whether the people who are not wearing masks have been vaccinated? Did they get their first dose? When was it? It creates a huge amount of administrative and enforcement complexity and probably friction and unforeseen problems that we’d rather not get into.”
Kenney’s concerns were echoed by Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw who said that lifting restrictions specifically for vaccinated people would require Albertans to disclose private health information.
“If we were to create different rules for people who were vaccinated and those who were not, it would require the production of some kind of proof of immunity or disclosure of personal health information for the purposes of that activity, and there’s been a very clear direction set in this province that that kind of disclosure of health information will not be required of Albertans,” Hinshaw said.
There are 186 patients with COVID-19 being treated in Alberta’s intensive care units, which is a record high for the province, Alberta Health Services CEO Dr. Verna Yiu said Monday.