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First Omicron COVID-19 variant found in BC

(Files by Brody Langager-MyPGNow)

The BC Government announced that the first case of the Omicron COVID-19 variant was found in the province.

Dr Bonnie Henry said they are looking at whether this variant is more aggressive, if it causes more sickness in people, and if it will be competitive against the other strains.

“So there is still a lot we do not know about the Omicron variant, and it will take some weeks for us to get sufficient data to understand.”

She added the person was travelling from Nigeria, which is one of the new countries added to the list of travel bans in Canada

“They are isolating, and public health is, as we do with every case, following up with them and their contacts at this time.”

The person is currently in the Fraser Health authority.

204 people in BC have travelled in areas that are currently under travel restrictions, and health authorities are following up with them.

Henry also announced more restrictions for worship services in the province, making masks mandatory at all times, except for when eating or drinking.

“I am amending the mask order to include a requirement that participants attending worship services, including choirs, must wear a face covering, a mask, during services.”

Worship services must also be limited to 50% capacity, unless all participants are vaccinated.

Due to the rollout of vaccines for kids, as well as booster shots, the BC Government is enlisting the aid of pharmacies to help administer doses.

“I do want to remind parents and everybody that pharmacies are coming online to help with particularly the booster doses,” said Henry.

Minister of Health Adrian Dix said 300 pharmacies will be added by the end of next week, and by January, 1000 pharmacies will be administering vaccine doses.

“Pharmacies are going to to take on the burden and responsibility, the extraordinary responsibility, of the booster dose campaign.”

Interior Health will also no longer have increased COVID-19 restrictions, and will now have the same restrictions as the majority of the province.

Northern Health restrictions remain until the end of January.


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