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B.C. Omicron: Health officials say incubation period is faster than other variants

B.C. health officials are encouraging residents to stay home if they feel at all unwell as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to surge across the province.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says that the incubation period for the Omicron variant is a median of three days, down from an average of six days "even one month ago."

That means people who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should self-isolate for one week if they are fully vaccinated, regardless of if they have confirmed the illness with a PCR test.

"If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 you must assume you have the virus and must take the appropriate measures (not to pass it on)," said Henry at a live update Wednesday.

B.C.'s top doctor says people may be infectious a day or two before they feel symptoms of COVID-19, and that a smaller amount of the Omicron variant is needed to transmit to someone else compared to previous variants.

However, she stressed that people who are vaccinated tend to have mild symptoms with the Omicron variant, and shed smaller amounts of the virus for a shorter period of time compared to unvaccinated people.

"As a result we all need to be paying more attention to two things: how we are feeling and who we will be spending time with to make sure we are not putting people at risk," said Henry.

Anyone who is feeling serious symptoms of COVID-19, such as difficulty breathing, chest pains, or trouble eating or drinking, should contact 811, or call 911 if it is an emergency.

Henry says that close contacts of people who are confirmed to have COVID-19 do not need to self-isolate if they are fully vaccinated.

However, she stresses that close contacts need to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and make sure they are taking other measures to reduce transmissions, such as staying six feet away from people and wearing a mask. Top Stories


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