The BC Centre for Disease Control has amended guidance requiring isolation for unvaccinated individuals to isolate for 10 days after contracting COVID-19.
This comes after the organization changed its website on Tuesday stating unvaccinated individuals were only required to isolate for five days following a positive test.
Vaccinated individuals and anyone aged 17 and younger who is unvaccinated only need to isolate for five days after testing positive.
The BC CDC website now states as of Wednesday that “if you are an adult who tested positive and you are not fully vaccinated and are managing your illness at home, you can end isolation” when three conditions are met.
The conditions include at least 10 days having passed since your symptoms started, or from the day you tested positive if you did not have symptoms and fever has resolved without the use of fever-reducing medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
The final condition is symptoms have improved.
The rapidly changing guidelines adds to a confusing week from B.C. public health officials that started with surprise changes to orders around gyms and nightclubs.
The secret change to the health orders led to provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry apologizing for the poor communication.
Vaccinated individuals and those 17 and younger who have tested positive must wait at least five days after symptoms have started, or from the test date if there are no symptoms.
“Stay home until you feel well enough to return to your regular activities,” the CDC guidance reads.
“You should avoid non-essential visits to higher risk settings such as long-term care facilities and gatherings, for another five days after ending isolation.”
The BC CDC has also made another dramatic change and is no longer requiring close contacts to self-isolate.
A close contact should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 even if they are fully vaccinated or had COVID-19 in the last 90 days.
This will create clarity for parents who have been told their children cannot attend childcare because they were a close contact of a COVID positive case.
Public health officials and the BC CDC continue to grapple with isolation periods as Omicron spreads through communities.
Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said Tuesday the latest evidence does not show the Omicron variant is contagious for less time than previous versions of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Tam says the new highly transmissible variant can be contagious for up to 10 days.
Due to testing limitations, the BC CDC is asking people who have tested positive to let their close contacts know so they can monitor for symptoms.
This includes notifying people you live with and people you had intimate contact with.
Fully vaccinated means you received both doses of a two-dose series, or it has been more than 14 days since you received a single dose of a one-dose series.
For people with mild symptoms, COVID-19 testing is no longer recommended.