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Calgarians remain cautious as COVID-19 infections increase

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CALGARY -

As COVID-19 infection rates are increasing ahead of the new school year, some Calgary parents feel uneasy.

“I’ve got two children returning to school after being home for the year that don’t have access to the vaccine, they’re not 12 yet,” said Mary Lang.

Lang said her family has just slowly started to open their bubble.

“We’ve been extremely cautious over the last year and we’ve gone back to only outside, we have one member going into the cafe, we never really stopped masking anyway.”

Chase Friesen said she’s been cautious about COVID-19 and that isn’t about to change with infection numbers in the triple digits.

“I still wear a mask everywhere I go like on the train and into every building I go into,” said Friesen. “I feel it's important to protect people especially service workers who have been through this the entire time, protect them and protect people who can’t get vaccinated.”

Friday the province reported 763 new cases. Hospitalizations increased by 23, bringing the number of people in hospital to 221. The last time Alberta saw a jump like this in hospitalization numbers was April 24.

In June, when the premier announce the province’s open for summer plan, Jason Kenney said he couldn’t imagine a fourth wave hitting Alberta.

“We just don’t see that scenario…This is open for good, not just open for summer. We will have to from time to time address localized outbreaks,” said Kenney at a June 18 press conference.

But the fourth wave is here nevertheless.

“It’s a consequence of (the) Delta (variant) being present and being dominant but also just the increased connectivity of people right now,” said Dr. Lynora Saxinger, infectious disease specialist.

Saxinger said the trend will likely continue as more people move indoors with the return to work and school.

Saxinger said even though the healthcare system isn’t overwhelmed right now, the increase of cases and hospitalizations is concerning.

“I expected that cases would go up as we relaxed everything. I expected that cases would be higher in younger age groups. I did not expect that we’d be seeing a hospitalization uptick already.”

Saxinger said even fully-vaccinated people can take steps to be cautious including choosing outdoor settings when gathering, wearing masks indoors, paying attention to hand hygiene and also staying within networks of vaccinated people.

LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY

The opposition is criticizing the provincial government for what it calls a lack of accountability and says more needs to be done to get first and second doses in arms.

“This government should be working aggressively to make vaccination as easy and attractive as possible. Beyond this the Kenney government should suspend its plans to tear down the test, trace, isolate system on September 27 and instead set a benchmark for success tied to one of the key indicators,” said David Shepherd, NDP critic for health.

Local businesses are also watching the numbers increase and worry they could take another hit as infections increase.

“It certainly is concerning,” said Darcy Anderson, owner of Trapped Escape Room.

Anderson said her staff are taking whatever precautions they can to stay open.

“All the staff is all double vaccinated, they continue to wear masks throughout the day, we are continuing to clean before and after each group.”

Anderson said one advantage for them is all their bookings are private so they keep groups in their own cohorts and they are able to keep groups spaced apart.

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