- B.C has hit its COVID-19 testing capacity as the health officer asked residents not to get tested unless they have symptoms on Friday.
- Part of the rise in testing demand will come as people worry about contracting the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
B.C has hit its COVID-19 testing capacity as the health officer asked residents not to get tested unless they have symptoms on Friday.
Dr. Bonnie Henry stated the province administered 20,000 COVID-19 PCR tests on Thursday as it deals with long lines and delays at testing sites across the region.
Part of the rise in testing demand will come as people worry about contracting the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
“Omicron is different,” she said. “In a sense, we’re in a different game, a different pandemic now.”
Henry said she expects Omicron to become the dominant COVID-19 variant in B.C. by next week.
She said the province’s contract tracing program couldn’t keep up with the variant, which can spread as quickly in two days as it took the original strain to spread in seven.
“It can spread with tiny amounts of virus. It replicates quickly,” she said. “The time between exposure and getting sick yourself and passing it on to someone else is short.”
Henry urged people not to get tested unless they needed to. She added that residents should not get pushed to justify meeting with family members or traveling during the winter holidays.
If someone develops symptoms, they need to adjust holiday plans and self-isolate, she said.
As a result of hitting the testing, Henry said health staff prioritize those most at risk and give take-home antigen tests to younger people at less risk.
She also reiterated that gyms and other businesses ordered to close must remain shuttered.
Health Minister Dix says the province expects 147,371 vaccinations from Dec. 22 to Jan. 2.
He said 907,094 third doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered, and 120,844 children from the ages of five to 11 have received their first doses of the Pfizer vaccine explicitly designed for them.
Dix added that 20 percent of the eligible population had received a third dose of a vaccine.