'Because they live in Alberta': Calgary physician reacts to youngest Albertan COVID-19 death

An 18-year-old woman became the youngest Albertan to die of COVID-19, the province announced Wednesday which one Calgary physician said was because of the province's lacklustre COVID-19 policies in schools.

The woman lived in Central Zone and died on Monday. She had pre-existing conditions and was not vaccinated.

Wednesday, the physicians' group POP (Protect Our Province) addressed the issue of COVID-19 and school-aged children.

"This a tragic moment for our society," said Dr. Joe Vipond, a Calgary emergency room physician and member of POP.  "Because it didn't have to be this way, and, and this person who otherwise would have had a good life, died because they live in Alberta. And I'm so sorry to the parents and friends and family of this person."

Vipond questioned the province's COVID-19 policy in schools.

"Unless we have good policy, we're going to fail," he said. "This government, our chief medical officer of health has put in policies that has accelerated transmission in the schools, we have eliminated contact tracing in schools, we have eliminated asymptomatic testing of close contacts in schools. We have gotten rid of parental notification of positive cases so the parents can't make adequate risk assessments for their children."

The province announced 1,336 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, with the positivity rate dipping to just over nine per cent. Active cases were down more than 600.

More than 19,000 vaccines were administered Tuesday, up 30 per cent from a week ago.

Nearly 92 per cent of those in ICU are not fully vaccinated.