OTTAWA — Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says the latest evidence does not support the hope the Omicron variant is contagious for less time than previous versions of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Tam is appearing today at the House of Commons health committee, fielding questions about several provinces recently deciding to cut the quarantine period to five days from 10.
Tam says data on Omicron infections is still limited, and Canadian data is still being collected.
She pointed to one study from Japan that is still not peer reviewed but indicated the viral load was highest among Omicron patients three to six days after symptoms started and disappeared at around 10 days.
Tam says she understands that the sheer number of people getting sick with Omicron is putting pressure on workforces, including hospitals, to get people back to work as quickly as possible.
She says the risk tolerance Canada has for COVID-19 “has to be adjusted” but that shortening isolation periods must be done only with strong measures like masking and testing.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021.
The Canadian Press