No minimum isolation time for those not tested for COVID-19 under new B.C. guidelines
B.C. health officials have quietly changed their guidelines for people experiencing mild COVID-19 symptoms, removing the minimum self-isolation time for adults who never tested positive.
Testing collapsed in the province last month amid unprecedented levels of community transmission, prompting officials to reserve limited lab capacity for those at higher risk of serious illness, including seniors and those with certain health conditions. The provincial health officer has instead advised younger people with mild symptoms to assume they have COVID-19 and stay home.
Until recently, those individuals were told to self-isolate for at least five days if fully vaccinated. But on Wednesday, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control revised the guidance on its website without announcement, essentially allowing people to decide what to do on their own. The Fraser Health website did the same on Thursday.
“If you have mild symptoms and do not need a COVID-19 test, stay home until you feel well enough to return to your regular activities,” reads identical wording on both websites.
The BCCDC does instruct people to avoid "non-essential high-risk settings such as long-term care facilities and individuals at higher risk for severe illness for 10 days after the start of your symptoms,” describing symptoms as mild when they can be managed at home.
HEALTH MINISTER DEFENDS UNANNOUNCED CHANGES
Health Minister Adrian Dix was asked about the new guidance Thursday, and defended the unannounced change on a website full of information that’s often changed, noting the BCCDC did apologize for confusion.
"I continue to support public health in making those decisions," said Dix. “The issue is if you're sick, stay home."
When asked to confirm that adults who feel better can stop isolating without a timeline attached, he replied, “That’s right.”
Vaccinated adults who’ve tested positive can't stop isolating until they have been fever-free for 24 hours without medication, their symptoms have improved, and it's been at least five days since their symptoms emerged or since they received their test result. The same goes for children, regardless of their vaccination status. They are also instructed to avoid high-risk settings like long-term are facilities and group gatherings for another five days.
Unvaccinated adults must still wait 10 days since their symptoms started or they tested positive.
It’s the second time in a week that government has quietly made changes to websites without making announcements, with public health orders around gyms and the hospitality industry extended at the 11th hour on Monday.
When Dix was asked why his government was struggling with public communication two years into a pandemic, he replied: “I'm not sure we are, in a general sense. It doesn't mean mistakes never get made.”
COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY SLAMMED, WITH WARNINGS OF CONSEQUENCES
Veteran political analyst and Angus Reid Institute president Shachi Kurl pointed out public health and government communications staff are just as exhausted as everyone else, so compassion is warranted.
“Two years into this, we're not seeing the best of anyone," she said. "There is uncertainty, there is anxiety, there is burnout and then you have real gaffes."
While there was considerable public support in early days and a positive response to clearer and more concise communication from Henry and Dix, Kurl says now that pandemic fatigue has deepened and the variants have become more complex, it makes for a dangerous combination when it comes to public health communication.
“What that creates is a perfect storm where people start to tune out and politicians and public health officials run the risk of losing the room,” she said. “That is not something endemic to British Columbia, we're seeing that across the country.”
Sonia Furstenau, the leader of the BC Green Party, has repeatedly urged the government to be more clear and transparent with the public when it comes to information, and raised concerns about B.C.’s policies increasingly diverging from other jurisdictions.
"Adding to the confusion is we're getting contradictory guidance in B.C. than what is coming from the federal health agency and the World Health Organzition, particularly when it comes to N95 masks, and in this latest example, isolating,” she said.
Both Kurl and Furstenau suggested this was a good opportunity to try different methods of communicating with the public – potentially with different people who have fresh approaches and can provide clear and concise messaging that will cut through pandemic fatigue.
“In a crisis, leadership should be a shared burden and in Ontario you see members of the Independent Science Table speaking to the public and other communicators aligned to the same goal and the same message,” said Furstenau. “Government should always be asking, ‘How do we do better? How do we learn from our mistakes?’”
Vancouver Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Families are sharing photos and stories of their loved ones, who lost their lives in a mass shooting in Texas that killed at least 19 children and two adults on Tuesday afternoon.
A news conference about the shooting at a Texas elementary school broke into shouting Wednesday as Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke blamed Republican Gov. Greg Abbott for inaction ahead of the latest in a long string of mass shootings in the state.
The six candidates on the ballot to be the next leader of the Conservative Party of Canada are debating face-to-face in French, in Laval, Que.
Onlookers urged police officers to charge into the Texas elementary school where a gunman's rampage killed 19 children and two teachers, a witness said Wednesday, as investigators worked to track the massacre that lasted upwards of 40 minutes and ended when the 18-year-old shooter was killed by a Border Patrol team.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cancelled plans to appear in person at a Liberal fundraiser in British Columbia Tuesday after RCMP warned an aggressive protest outside the event could escalate if he arrived, said a source close to the decision. The source spoke to The Canadian Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the situation publicly.
Do oil companies control the price of crude? CTVNews.ca asked experts to explain.
Several parts of the country, including British Columbia and Canada's Maritime provinces, are likely to see wetter-than-normal conditions this summer, according to AccuWeather's annual summer forecast.
The Public Health Agency of Canada says it has now confirmed a total of 16 cases of monkeypox in the country, all in Quebec.
A jury in Portland has convicted a self-published romance novelist - who once wrote an essay titled 'How to Murder Your Husband' - of fatally shooting her husband four years ago.
Authorities are investigating Wednesday after the body of a porpoise was discovered on a beach near Victoria.
Victoria police say three men were arrested after a random bear spray attack occurred on Monday.
A British Columbia company that was once at the forefront of the booming plant-based meats industry is shuttering stores and production plants as it struggles to survive.
Those who haven't receive their bill by the first week of June are asked to contact 311.
Milan Lucic is a veteran of 135 Stanley Cup playoff games and has seen it all through the years. He's been up three games to none in a series and lost. He's also been up three games to one and had to play a seventh game.
The mayor of Calgary says the increase in local gun violence and hate-based crimes needs to be addressed and it's past time the public demand better of its elected officials.
Even though they cheer for opposite teams, a proposal by a Flames fan at Game 4 of the Battle of Alberta received a resounding "yes" from the Oilers-loving bride to be.
Edmonton’s School Resource Officer Program has received a passing grade in a new report that was presented to Catholic School Trustees on Wednesday.
Alberta's justice minister is facing criticism for "strange" and "remarkably unhelpful" comments he made in the legislature on Tuesday when an NDP MLA asked him to help fight crime in Chinatown.
Was your home damaged by the Ontario storm? Insurance companies say payouts could take weeks to process
The insurance industry says it could take up to six weeks to get an idea of how many hundreds of millions of dollars in pay outs will be required from the weekend storm that brought death and destruction to Ontario and Quebec, but that early estimates are substantial.
Police have released new video of a recent incident in which a vehicle was caught doing doughnuts and speeding along the shoulder of busy Ontario roadways.
People all across Ontario are getting creative when it comes to netting a secondary income, otherwise known as a “side hustle,” and many are turning to secondhand economies thriving on online platforms.
Quebec politicians were not pleased with the federal Liberals' comments on Bill 96 and Bill 21, firing back with a slew of protests and even raising sovereignty as the solution.
Quebec's public health department is set to give its first press conference on the growing monkeypox outbreak as the province recorded its 16th confirmed case Wednesday.
Montreal police says it is working to dismantle a 'major amphetamine trafficking and production network.'
The Manitoba Government could turn to the military for help as it struggles with staffing shortages, overcrowding, and in some cases, temporary closures of emergency rooms.
The Manitoba government is hinting it may allow more alcohol sales through private channels to boost customer convenience.
Officers with the Manitoba RCMP are investigating after a 75-year-old man was found dead in the water near a culvert.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced $32 million in funding for long term care in Saskatchewan.
Saskatoon Police Service says that the use and presence of potent new synthetic opioids known as nitazenes are difficult to track and monitor.
A 48-year-old semi-truck driver was killed in in a rollover near Meadow Lake on Tuesday.
'All it takes is one': Sask. RCMP partner with Washington police to publicize disappearance of Mekayla Bali
Saskatchewan RCMP and the Washington State Patrol announced a collaboration of efforts to locate Mekayla Bali, who was 16-years-old when she was last on April 12, 2016 in Yorkton.
A new art exhibit at the George Bothwell Library is hoping to examine and remove the feeling of shame associated with people who are deaf and hard of hearing.
For those looking to hop the border into Manitoba for their camping seasons, it started off on the wrong foot for Duck Mountain Provincial Park.
As the inquiry into Nova Scotia’s mass shooting moves its public proceedings to Truro, many of the family members affected by the tragedy and their lawyers are boycotting the proceedings over the next week.
Former Chief Anchor Steve Murphy offers a timely perspective on the Mass Casualty Commission and the difference 30 years after the Westray inquiry.
Two more people have been charged with murder in connection with a fatal house fire in Nova Scotia’s Yarmouth County in March. Three people have now been charged in the case.
Two men and one woman are facing charges Wednesday after police say their vehicle struck a London police cruiser and then the suspects fled the scene on foot over the weekend.
OPP and Southwest Middlesex fire are on the scene of a fatal collision Wednesday afternoon involving a tanker truck and a passenger vehicle.
Jeff Ducharme was in his home office when a young man in a truck pulled up, ran up to the front of his home in Norwich, Ont. and stole his pride flag in broad daylight.
Health care appears to be one of the bigger issues for voters along the North Shore as they get set to cast ballots in Algoma-Manitoulin.
A candidate in the provincial election in Greater Sudbury has been named in a $306 million lawsuit related to last winter's trucker convoy in Ottawa.
The partnership between the Sudbury Theatre Centre and YES Theatre has many people wondering what it means for arts in the city -- and why it was put in place without consulting the arts community first.
New details are emerging about the tragic incident that killed 27-year-old Shelby Humble-Neale on Saturday.
Waterloo regional police say evidence of gunfire found in McLennan Park in Kitchener is connected to another shooting incident in the nearby area of Windflower Drive and Windflower Crescent.
Two 29-year-old men have been seriously injured following a collision in Baden, Ont., with one needing to be airlifted to a hospital outside the region.