Fully vaccinated British Columbia residents can now self-isolate for up to five days after contracting COVID-19, the province announced Friday.
Previously, people who had been fully immunized against COVID-19 had to self-isolate for at least seven days. Provincial health officer Dr Bonnie Henry said the new minimum was decided after reviewing national and international data, taking into account differences in the timing and severity of illnesses recorded. received during the latest phase of the pandemic.
“We’ve had a number of discussions around this country,” Henry said. “And we’ve come to an agreement that, given the milder illness we’re seeing in most people today, we can make one change to reduce the amount of time people need to be apart. cups if they’re sick.”
Provincial health workers should only leave home after five days if their symptoms “have resolved or have mostly improved”, the provincial health official added, stressing that no one should stop self-medication. quarantine while they still have a fever.
“This is a risk-mitigation strategy, it doesn’t mean that every person will go through their infectious phase where they can infect others within five days,” Henry said. “But the vast majority of people are.”
Even when people return to the community, they must diligently wear masks whenever they are around other people for another 5 days. Henry said they must also abstain from social gatherings during that time.
Unvaccinated BC residents with COVID-19 are still required to self-isolate for at least 10 days from the start of their symptoms or positive test result.
“Nothing has changed on this,” Henry said.
Earlier this week, the US Centers for Disease Control announced a shortened 5-day quarantine period for Americans who test positive for COVID-19 but have no symptoms. Canada’s Public Health Agency responded on Wednesday by stating the federal recommendation would remain beyond 10 days from the onset of symptoms.
However, provinces have the power to decide their own isolation rules, and Henry argues that shorter quarantine periods are justified given the changes that have occurred since Omicron took over as variable. can dominate.
“What we’re seeing with Omicron is that a shorter incubation period means that people are contagious earlier – one to two days before their symptoms start – and their illness also tends to resolved faster,” she said.
As the number of COVID-19 cases increased rapidly, leading to a resurgence of outbreaks in healthcare facilities, the government also reintroduced temporary visitor restrictions in long-term care homes on Monday. Friday.
The province is also ramping up its vaccine booster program, with the aim of getting the third dose of most British Columbians within about six months of the second.