Skip to content

UPDATE: B.C. CDC updates COVID isolation time back up to 10 days for unvaccinated adults

Individuals under the age of 18 who are unvaccinated remains at 5 days
FILE – Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen at LifeLabs after being logged upon receipt at the company’s lab, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, March 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control reversed course on its isolation time requirements for some individuals on Wednesday (Jan. 19) evening, raising the number of days unvaccinated adults must stay isolated

Unvaccinated adults must now isolate for at least 10 days after testing positive or feeling symptoms.

The change, made Wednesday, reverses a move made by the BC CDC Tuesday to lower isolation requirements to just five days for everyone once three conditions have been satisfied; five days have passed since symptoms began or from their test date, whichever is longer; fever has been gone for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication; and symptoms have improved.

The five-day isolation period remains in effect for vaccinated adults and teens and children under the age of 18.

Most people with mild symptoms who are not at high risk – especially when vaccinated – have been asked to forego testing and simply isolate. Individuals are asked to avoid “higher risk settings,” including long-term care homes and gatherings, for another five days after leaving isolation.

The BC CDC’s initial decision appeared to run counter to recent statements made by federal health officials about the Omicron variant being contagious for just as long as prior variants.

“An individual that is infected, for example, is still capable of shedding the virus and communicating this even up to the 10 days,” chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam told MPs on Tuesday (Jan. 18).

However, Tam did acknowledge that the Omicron variant is stressing workforces as it infects people in record numbers.

“This is a difficult decision that the provinces have to make,” Tam said.

Black Press Media has reached out to the BC CDC for more information.

READ MORE: B.C. reduces isolation time to 5 days for mild COVID-19 symptoms in vaccinated individuals


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.