The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is clarifying new guidance on its website regarding self-isolation recommendations and how to manage COVID-19 illness after its amendments created widespread confusion.
On Wednesday (Jan. 19), the BCCDC quietly updated its advice on close contacts and self-isolation recommendations regarding vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.
In a statement released the following day, the agency apologized for its web posting and any subsequent confusion.
"We understand the significant interest in these testing and isolation guidelines, which is why we updated the website immediately with clarifications made yesterday. We recognize this approach led to confusion," reads the acknowledgement.
"We will strive to ensure there is a better change management process for future changes."
Under the updated guidance, individuals over 18 who are not fully vaccinated and test positive for COVID-19 should self-isolate for 10 days and wait until their symptoms improve and they no longer have a fever. For five days following this period, they should also avoid nonessential visits to "high-risk settings."
Fully vaccinated adults who test positive must self-isolate for half the time that individuals who are not fully vaccinated do (five days). However, they must also ensure that their symptoms have improved and they no longer have a fever. Additionally, they should avoid non-essential visits to high-risk settings for an additional five days following their self-isolation period.
If you have mild symptoms and do not need a COVID-19 test, the BCCDC advises you to stay home until you feel well enough to return to your regular activities.
Close contacts do not need to self-isolate, regardless of vaccination status, but should self-monitor. In fact, everyone should routinely monitor symptoms of COVID-19, whether they are notified of a COVID-19 exposure or not; stay home if you feel unwell.
According to the BCCDC, the changes enable British Columbians to self-manage their illness and limit spread in communities while continuing their regular activities as much as possible (ie. going to work or school or socializing).
Further changes to the guidance are expected in the weeks to come, notes the agency, adding that getting vaccinated "remains the most effective measure to prevent severe illness."
For more information about the updated guidance regarding isolation protocol and how to manage COVID-19 symptoms, visit the BCCDC online.