Some of the new measures announced by the province have frustrated Albertans, who are now facing restrictions after already rolling up their sleeves for the COVID-19 vaccine.
The restriction drawing the most ire is the limits on private gatherings for fully-vaccinated people.
For those who are vaccinated, private indoor social gatherings are limited to a single household, plus a second household. The total number of vaccine-eligible people eligible to be there is 10. No restrictions apply to children under the age of 12.
For those who live alone, they can choose two designated people. Those people must remain the same for the duration of the restrictions.
“I honestly don’t know what else I can do at this point,” said Brittany, in Edmonton. “I’ve done everything I can.”
Brittany, who asked for her last name to be withheld for privacy reasons, said she was surprised that restrictions had been placed on those who had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“The vaccine gave me a lot of hope. The government gave me a lot of hope. It’s really devastating.”
Alberta introduced a number of new measures in an effort to slow the fourth wave of COVID-19 on Wednesday and ease severe pressure on the health system, several of which came into effect Thursday. One of the biggest, a vaccine passport of sorts, will not come into effect until Sept. 20.
Alberta’s chief medical officer of health said Thursday during a news conference that she has heard Albertans’ concerns about a limit on gatherings when people are fully-vaccinated, calling it a “fair question.”
“We have a collective, shared responsibility to keep everyone safe. This is the glue that holds our society together,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw said.
“Our health-care system is straining to treat the number of COVID cases in Alberta.”
As of Thursday, 896 people were in hospital, including 222 COVID-19 patients in the ICU.
“While two doses of vaccine are generally about 85 per cent effective at protecting against the Delta variant, that still leaves a 15 per cent window for infection,” she said.
“Since the presence of COVID-19 is so high in the province right now, we need to do all we can to safeguard ourselves and the health-care system and stop providing all opportunities for COVID-19 to slip in.”
Many Albertans had called on increased government action for weeks.
Rebekah Ryan said she was relieved to finally see new restrictions after watching Alberta break COVID-19 patient ICU records for consecutive days.
“It’s well overdue. Definitely something should have been done earlier.”
Dennis Sanche said he believes most people would have continued to stay home if sick or experiencing symptoms of the virus without additional health measures.
Brittany said she will continue to follow restriction guidelines, but is also going to express her frustration to the Alberta government.
“It feels like a group project that some of us have been carrying for the last 18 months.
“I think we’re going to have to keep doing that,” Brittany said.
Indoor social gatherings are now banned for those who are vaccine eligible, but are not vaccinated.
There can be a maximum of 200 people at an outdoor social gathering, but two metres of physical distancing must be observed at all times.
With files from Kirby Bourne