COVID-19: Health officials warn businesses to prepare for staffing shortages

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, provides an update on COVID-19 on Jan. 4, 2022. || B.C. government photo.
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B.C. public health officials have warned businesses to prepare contingency plans to operate with as much as one third of staff absent.

Record COVID-19 case numbers in B.C., fuelled by the Omicron variant, have made officials reconsider their approach to containing the virus’ spread.

“Things like case and contract tracing are no longer reactionary measures that are able to work to help us contain this,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, during the Jan. 4 COVID-19 update.

Henry pointed out the differences in how Omicron presents itself in symptoms, its shorter incubation period and the shortness of illness for many people. She said businesses have the tools they need to manage safety and staffing issues related to the virus.

“I do think it is over to the sector now. It’s not me who can order these, it’s how we need to get through this new wave together,” Henry said.

No further public health restrictions are planned, according to Henry.

The province announced 2,542 new COVID-19 cases today (Jan. 4), bringing the active case count to 27,106, including 298 in hospital, 86 of whom are in critical care. Four more people died from COVID-19 in B.C., including two in Island Health.

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