Premier Danielle Smith fulfilled her promise to dr. Remove Deena Hinshaw from her position as Alberta’s chief medical officer of health and hire a familiar face to replace her.
The Alberta government confirmed on Monday afternoon that Dr. Mark Joffe, who has spoken to Albertans on numerous occasions during the COVID-19 pandemic at Alberta Health news conferences, will replace Hinshaw effective immediately.
Prior to his appointment as Alberta’s new CMOH, Joffe served as Vice President and Medical Director of Cancer Care Alberta, Clinical Support Services and Provincial Clinical Excellence.
Joffe’s biography page on the Alberta Health Services website says his “diverse clinical experience includes his specialty practice in infectious diseases.” The Calgary native has worked at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, as well as the Edmonton Center for Sexually Transmitted Diseases and the Edmonton Institution for Women.
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Since becoming prime minister last month, Smith has said she will replace Hinshaw and find new people to advise her government on decisions related to public health.
Smith has been highly critical of the Alberta government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. She plans to amend the Human Rights Act to ban discrimination against people who choose not to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The prime minister said she believes unvaccinated people are the most discriminated group she has come across in her life.
Hinshaw was Alberta’s CMOH for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her leadership has often come under fire, especially when she supported the lifting of nearly all public health restrictions related to COVID-19 in the summer of 2021, which was followed by a massive wave of coronavirus infections in the province.
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Hinshaw argued the decision to lift almost all restrictions — a move the province later backtracked on before restrictions were finally lifted — was based on the fact that COVID-19 could not be eliminated, so it was time for Albertans to learn to live with the disease.
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She said at the time that getting rid of isolation requirements, asymptomatic testing and contact tracing would allow the province to focus on other health threats, including the opioid deaths and syphilis.
More to come…
-With files from The Canadian Press
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