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Phased reopening is too soon: doctor

Dr. Rob Warren concerned about second wave

SUNDRE — The Moose & Squirrel Medical Clinic will not be among the businesses to resume regular operations despite the provincial government’s plans to reopen the economy in phases.

“We’re maintaining the new status quo for now,” said Dr. Rob Warren, who runs the practice with wife Dr. Michelle Warren.

“We’re not convinced it’s safe to start ramping up face-to-face visits,” Warren said last week, adding their decision is driven by a desire to proceed as cautiously as possible to ensure the safety of staff and patients.

However, the clinic continues to serve the community with the same protocols that it has used throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, including virtual appointments and seeing patients with more serious issues in person by asking them to wait in their vehicles and limiting the number of people in the lobby, he said.   

“We feel we’re serving our patients’ needs with the processes we have in place,” he said.

The clinic was among the first local businesses to cease regular operations by stopping random walk-in visits after the health emergency was declared, and Warren anticipates being among the last to fully reopen as per pre-pandemic norms.

“It’s way too early,” he said, when asked his thoughts on the government’s plan to phase in the economy’s reopening.

“We haven’t even reached the end of the first wave.”

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More testing and contact tracing is required, coupled with enhanced protections for vulnerable sectors of society such as senior care homes as well as industrial operations like meat packing plants, he said.

Until those measures are in place, moving forward with reopening the economy is just asking for trouble, he said.

“I recognize it’s a challenge because people have to get back to work. But we’re just asking for repeated shut downs over and over again, and I don’t see how that benefits anybody.”

Simon Ducatel

About the Author: Simon Ducatel

Simon Ducatel joined Mountain View Publishing in 2015 after working for the Vulcan Advocate since 2007, and graduated among the top of his class from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology's journalism program in 2006.
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