People in British Columbia who test positive for COVID-19 are “no longer required to self-isolate,” according to updated protocols from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).
The change, quietly posted Thursday to the Self-Isolation and Self-Monitoring page on the BCCDC’s website, encourages people with COVID-19 to instead “stay home as much as possible to reduce any spread of illness until symptoms have improved.”
Yet one health researcher is voicing concerns, especially considering the recent surge in children with respiratory illnesses being admitted to B.C.’s emergency and intensive care units.
“I think it’s concerning that it wasn’t communicated and I think it suggests…that they didn’t want to communicate it broadly,” said Andy Longhurst, health policy researcher with Simon Fraser University.
“They were hoping to avoid any public discussion and debate about what this means, especially at a time when pediatric care in the province is collapsing like it is in other provinces.”
Previously, the BCCDC required fully vaccinated people who tested positive to self-isolate at home for five days and until symptoms improved, while unvaccinated adults had to stay home for at least 10 days.
“As public health measures are lifted, it’s important to remember that we have many tools, such as vaccines, treatments and our own actions, that can protect us from the impacts of COVID-19,” the health service said in its Thursday update.
“Consider how you manage other illnesses that you do not get tested for like cold and flu. Stay home if you are feeling unwell and resume your regular activities when you feel you are able to manage them. If you have a fever you should stay home until it is gone without medication.”
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BCCDC quietly changed guidance to tell people (read:employers) that C19+ no longer need to isolate. C19 has always been an occupational disease. This will make it more so. Health, education, service workers (women) already have highest #LongCovid prevalence. This will drive it up
The new protocols came just one day after the B.C. government encouraged people to get their COVID-19 immunizations, saying that while the situation has changed in the province, the virus continues to circulate in communities.
“In B.C., more than 90 per cent of the population has built some immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus through vaccination, infection or both, and the number of people at risk for serious outcomes from COVID-19 has dropped significantly,” the Province said in a release Wednesday.
Earlier that day, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry spoke at a press conference saying B.C. hospitals are, in fact, seeing an increase in respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus.
“While hospitals are seeing higher-than-normal volumes of patients with respiratory illnesses, including children, they are not yet experiencing volumes that necessitate activating provincial surge plans that include postponing non-urgent scheduled surgeries and moving patients to other care settings to free up hospital beds,” the Province added.