The Omicron variant took over from the Delta variant and is now responsible for the majority of new infections, as in other provinces across the country.
In British Columbia, it is responsible for more than 80% of new cases according to the authorities.
” As you know the virus has changed, we put the pieces of the puzzle together, but we can already say that we are now in a different storm. “
The variant spreads faster and the incubation period is shorter, around three days, confirms Dr. Henry.
Symptoms, which are milder in many cases, are similar to a cold or the flu, and the duration of infection is also shorter., says the doctor.
Despite the meteoric increase in cases, public health is currently seeing a small increase in hospitalizations in the province.
But we are getting ready, says the medical officer of health.
” At this point, we all know a colleague, friend or loved one who is currently infected with COVID-19. “
According to the Minister of Health, Adrian Dix, the rate of transmission with the Omicron variant is eight times higher than the province had before the variant arrived.
It’s a new pandemic and we have to adapt, he says.
Every gesture counts and we must be proactive, because the coming weeks are going to be a challengesays Dr. Henry, who says she is preparing for staff shortages and service disruptions in different areas.
According to her, a third of workers are at risk of being ill.
All industries must prepare. We now have experience and we have to put all the layers of protection back in place to avoid closures due to lack of personnel., she says.
Dr. Henry recommends that those who can work from home.
Keeping schools open, a priority
However, the province maintains the start of the school year on January 10.
Keeping our schools open is essential for the development of our children, says the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
Symptoms in children are often mild and vaccination in younger children will also help. The vaccine is the best protection for everyoneadds Bonnie Henry.
About 39% of children aged 5 to 11 received a first dose of Pfizer vaccine in British Columbia.
On the way to the 3e dose for all
The vaccine does not prevent COVID-19, but it does prevent the development of more severe or prolonged forms of the disease, noted Dr. Henry.
Getting the third dose, even after a recent infection with the disease, is important, she says.
The Minister of Health has also said that by the end of the week, all eligible British Columbians aged 18 and over who received their second dose of vaccine more than six months ago would receive their invitation. to obtain the third dose.
Over the next few days, hundreds of pharmacies will join the province’s campaign and administer the booster doses.
In recent months, many vulnerable people as well as healthcare workers have already received their booster shots.
Currently, 22% of the eligible adult population has received a 3e dose of vaccine.
As of Tuesday, British Columbia reported 2,542 new infections for a total of 27,106 active cases. Four new deaths are to be deplored. In all, 298 people are hospitalized, 86 are in intensive care.
Nine new outbreaks are reported in health care facilities, for a total of 24 outbreaks in the province.