BC is considering allowing some COVID-positive healthcare workers back on the job – BC News

Provincial health worker Dr. Bonnie Henry says BC is considering making changes to allow COVID-19 positive health workers to return to work more quickly to combat rising absenteeism.

Henry said Wednesday BC also “looks very carefully” at updated guidance from the U.S. CDC, which has reduced the isolation and quarantine period after a positive test result from 10 days to five if there are no symptoms.

Early data on the Omicron variant in BC confirm that a “smaller amount of the virus can bind more strongly” to receptors in the upper nose or throat, she said.

“What we see here, which is very similar to what the US CDC based their data on, is that people tend to be contagious a day or two before they notice symptoms, but the symptoms tend to be mild. and falling fast, “she said.

Henry said that the incubation period of Omicron – the period from the time a person causes the virus to show symptoms – has dropped from about six days to three.

“So we’re looking at it very closely and whether we can shorten that period of infection,” Henry said, adding that they need to mitigate the risks associated with the fact that some people who are immunocompromised may excrete the virus much longer.

Henry said they are concerned about mild cases of Omicron forcing large parts of the healthcare sector from the job. They seek to see if there are ways these workers can stay on the job “with appropriate precautions in place.”

Quebec announced a similar move this week, saying workers with mild symptoms or asymptomatic cases could be sent to work in COVID-19 wards. Simple exposure to a positive cause is also no longer enough to force a worker to stay home. Seriously ill workers will not be at work.

Henry noted that all healthcare workers in BC need to be vaccinated, so cases in that sector have been mild.

“We’ll make a decision in the next while based on our data, but we expect we’ll see increasing absenteeism given the transmission rates we see in society. So that’s a consideration,” Henry said.

She noted that British Colombians who are fully vaccinated and who have been in contact with a COVID-19 case no longer need to isolate themselves during the incubation period.

“You can continue to go to work by using appropriate masking and self-monitoring to make sure you do not pass it on in the workplace,” she said. “So that’s another part of it. It helps maintain our health care professionals and in the various essential environments, but it’s definitely something I want to say more about very soon.”

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