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B.C. may allow some COVID-positive health-care workers to keep working, top doctor says

Hoping to avoid more health-care disruptions amid a rise of COVID-19 cases in B.C., the province's doctor said Wednesday officials are considering allowing some health-care staff to keep working in some way even if they're infected with the disease.

Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the possible upcoming change in procedure during an afternoon news conference.

"One of the things we're very concerned about is health-care workers becoming sick with Omicron in the next little while and seeing if there's ways that we can have health-care workers, for example, with very mild or asymptomatic cases working in some aspects of health care with appropriate precautions in place," Henry said.

The plan could mirror one that Quebec announced Tuesday and that is being considered in Manitoba and Ontario. In Quebec, some workers will be allowed to return after a "reduced" isolation period. 

In B.C., health-care workers must be vaccinated to continue their jobs.

"We expect that we're going to see increased absenteeism given the rates of transmission we're seeing in the community," Henry said, adding that an update on the issue might be coming soon. "We are looking at fitness for work for people who have mild illness in the health-care setting."

Henry said there might also more plans coming to move workers around as needed or to substitute workers.

"Obviously if somebody is sick, whether it's with COVID or any other illness, we don't want them in a workplace setting because it is a risk to others," she said. "But there are certain settings where we need to make sure that we have that balancing of continuity of care; health-care workers are one." Top Stories

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