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“If we’re going to be transparent about anything, hospitals and schools are number one and two in terms of things the government should be transparent about,” she said. “There’s everything to be gained and literally nothing to be lost by being upfront about this.”
Leyla Asadi, an infectious disease specialist currently completing her PhD at the University of Alberta, said health-care staff follow best practices to prevent outbreaks within acute-care facilities and that any report into the origin of the Foothills outbreak should be made public to better inform how the province deals with future outbreaks.
“If there is a document, I don’t see why it wouldn’t be released, because I can’t imagine what it could say that wouldn’t be helpful for learning,” she said.
“Knowing what I know about how hard all the staff work and the levels of protection that are in place, I can’t see how there would be anything damaging. I don’t see a downside.”
Asadi said praised the work of doctors and other health-care workers dealing with outbreaks at hospitals but said she was worried about the current spread.
“It’s not so much the transparency that concerns me. It’s the fact that this is happening that concerns me,” Asadi said. “From my perspective, it’s a function of the high community transmission rates. When you have so many infections in the community, it becomes inevitable that it’s going to permeate everywhere that it can.”
As of Friday, there were 2,225 active cases of the novel coronavirus in Alberta, a number that has surged in the past week as the Edmonton region reports record-high infection rates.
COVID-19 has killed 283 Albertans, at last report. There are 86 Albertans in hospital with the virus, 13 of whom were receiving treatment in intensive-care units.
The Alberta government did not provide updating data on the coronavirus Saturday. The next provincial update will come Tuesday, following the Thanksgiving Day long weekend.
Read More: Transparency key as Foothills hospital outbreaks expand, academics say