With nearly 90 per cent of B.C. residents aged 12 and up having had two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, the rapidly spreading Omicron variant is infecting vaccinated people in four out of five new cases, according to the latest data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.
Of the 22,512 new confirmed cases the week of Dec. 30 to Jan. 5, 82.8 per cent were in fully vaccinated people, 2.5 per cent had one dose of vaccine and 14.6 per cent were not vaccinated. Adjusting for age in that week’s cases, as mostly younger people are not yet fully vaccinated, the rate per 100,000 population still shows more unvaccinated than vaccinated people catching COVID-19.
The latest hospitalization data are for the two-week period from Dec. 23 to Jan. 5, where there were 359 people admitted to hospital with active COVID-19 infections. They show that 128 (35.7 per cent) were unvaccinated, 218 (60.7 per cent) were fully vaccinated and 13 (3.6 per cent) had one dose of an approved vaccine.
B.C.’s new law is now in effect, requiring employers to provide up to five days a year of paid sick leave, and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has joined other health authorities in recommending a five-day self-isolation period for COVID-19 symptoms. With an infection rate that may be more than 10,000 a day in B.C., the shorter isolation period is an effort to keep enough health care and other essential staff on the job.
Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix are also pleading with people to leave B.C.’s testing capacity for priority areas such as outbreak control.
“If you are fully vaccinated, at lower risk and have mild symptoms, you don’t need a test,” Henry said in a briefing Jan. 7. “Omicron is spreading widely in our communities. If you have those mild symptoms, whether it’s a runny nose, a cough and you’ve been out in connection with other people, it’s very likely that you have COVID. What you need to do is stay home and stay away from others and manage your symptoms.”