"It's an entirely new game."
B.C. reached its maximum capacity for COVID-19 testing, as cases continue to rise. Testing locations have seen extremely long wait times, and restrictions have changed in response to the Omicron variant.
In a press conference on December 24, Dr. Bonnie Henry said that the province reached its testing capacity, at about 20,000 PCR tests a day.
Due to this, she recommended that people don't go to get tested unless they have symptoms, in order to preserve the PCR tests for people who need them.
She said that the priority is people who have increased risk factors, underlying illnesses, or severe symptoms. They are also prioritizing health care workers and emergency responders.
She specified that people should not go and get tested for travel purposes, or to get a "green light" before seeing others.
"If you have any symptom, you must assume you have COVID and take measures to avoid passing it on," she added.
If you are vaccinated and don't have any risk factors, Dr. Henry said that you don't necessarily have to go and get tested. Instead, you should assume you are positive if you have mild symptoms.
If you are vaccinated and have symptoms, she said you should isolate for seven days. If you are unvaccinated you should isolate for 10 days.
In response to a question, Dr. Henry said that "there is triage happening at the testing stations."
At some locations people are being triaged when they go, to determine if they need a PCR test or a rapid antigen test. If you have no risk factors, you might get a rapid test instead, while others are prioritized for the PCR.
Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and can answer any questions you may have.
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