BC Identifies First Omicron COVID-19 Variant While 204 More Are Tested | Energeticcity.ca

“They are isolating themselves and public health, as we do in each case, is following up with them and their contacts at this time,” she said at a press conference.

Henry said 204 people recently returned from parts of southern Africa with outbreaks of the variant are being tested during their quarantine.

The federal government announced on Tuesday that all air travelers arriving from foreign destinations, except the United States, will now be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival at Canadian airports, regardless of their status. vaccine.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said he and Henry and other British Columbia health officials would meet with federal officials later Tuesday to discuss approaches to travel issues and the Omicron variant.

“We support the federal government to take precautionary measures until we better understand the potential risks of the variant,” he said.

The Omicron variant has also been found in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.

Henry said the Omicron variant is not currently prevalent in British Columbia, but the depth of its transmissibility and whether it will become more prevalent than the Delta variant is not yet known.

“The level of concern is at the level of vigilance,” she said. “It’s something we pay attention to. It is inevitable, I believe, that we will see more cases, but what we are not seeing is widespread transmission right now. “

Henry also announced new restrictions on religious services as the Christmas holiday season approaches, with people attending and participating in such services, such as choir members, required to wear masks unless a physical distance will be in place, while capacity will also be limited to 50 percent unless each participant is vaccinated.

For those with travel plans this holiday season, Henry said she is encouraging people to reassess their plans in this rapidly changing pandemic environment.

“You need to understand your personal risks when traveling,” Henry said. “You really have to take a step back and realize that we’re not there yet. These are the times when my recommendation is to think about staying close, staying close to home, staying close to your family, and having small gatherings.

The government reported 358 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday with no new deaths.

There are 300 people hospitalized and 104 of them are in intensive care units.

He said 87.8 percent of people 12 and older in British Columbia have received both of their vaccines, although that number drops to 81.5 percent when children five and older are added to the mix.

Henry said she is lifting health orders limiting the size of indoor and outdoor events for people vaccinated in Interior Health due to declining COVID-19 transmission rates, but restrictions in Northern Health on bars, restaurants nightclubs and in-person worship services will be extended until Jan. 31.

Earlier Tuesday, the British Columbia government said more than 98 percent of public service workers met provincial requirements for proof of vaccination.

The Civil Service Agency said in a statement that 432 employees are either not vaccinated or have refused to disclose their status before the Nov. 22 deadline to be partially or fully vaccinated.

He said 97% of the more than 38,000 government employees are fully immunized, 439 people are partially immunized and another 274 employees have requested accommodation for medical or other reasons.

Employees who are not vaccinated, refuse to disclose their status, or are partially vaccinated and do not receive their second dose within 35 days of their first dose will be placed on unpaid leave of absence for three months, the agency said.

Employees who fail to present proof of full vaccination after the three months of unpaid leave may be terminated.

The policy applies to all employees who work for the British Columbia Public Service and includes members of boards, commissions, agencies or any organization where the Public Service Act applies.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on November 30, 2021.

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

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