31st January 2022

January 20, 2022

One of our staff members attended a webinar provided by the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC.  They found it helpful,  took some notes, and provided a summary.  Notes are as accurate as possible, however if you’re looking to verify any of the information, please check with the MFSA BC (members), BC CDC, and your local health authority to get the most up to date, and accurate information.

Speaker: Dr. Michael Schwandt-Medical Health Officer Vancouver Coastal Health

Q: Is this new variant more transmissible?

A: Yes, but infections have peaked in the lower mainland, and the rest of BC is close behind.  There is also a lower risk of severe illness with the Omicron variant.

Q: Is the vaccine effective with this variant?

A: 3 dose coverage is 81% effective in hospital prevention and 65% effective on 2 dose coverage.

Q: What is the time period for employees returning to work?

A: People who are twice vaccinated may return to normal activities after 5 days.  Those who are unvaccinated or only once vaccinated need a waiting period of 10 days.  There is no need for a negative test result to return to work.

Q: Is there concern on the accuracy of the rapid test for a return to work?

A: The result isn’t a return to work gateway.  The purpose is to know whether or not to isolate.

Q:  How critical are masks to prevent Omicron?

A: Very.  N-95 are most effective, then surgical/medical, then cloth.  But whatever you use easiest is best.

Q: What are the requirements for employers to notify staff of an outbreak?

A: There are no requirements right now due to the short incubation period of the variant.  Safety plans and different layers of protection are far more effective.

Q: If you’re positive with Covid-19 can you test positive for up to 30 days?

A: Yes and sometimes people will remain positive for months which is why positive testing doesn’t work for a return to work.


Q: What is happening with antiviral medication and how can it change the isolation system? 

A: Immunocompromised, and unvaccinated individuals will be considered first.  It can prevent infection but won’t change the need for quarantine or limit their infectious period.

Q: After testing positive for Covid-19 how long are you immune?

A: You can be immune for up to 90 days but this varies.

Q: Which test is most effective: throat vs. nasal? 

A: The nasal back of the nose test is the most effective.

Q: How long do we keep medical records for contact tracing purposes?

A: A month.

Q: Are caretakers (eg. with infant) required to isolate?

A: If they are asymptomatic and are vaccinated they are not required to isolate, if they are unvaccinated, they are.

Q: Is it possible to get more than one variant of the virus at once?

A: They replace each other so quickly that it’s not much of a risk.

Q: Is omicron transmissible outdoors?

A: The risk of outdoor transmission at a good distance is quite low.

Q: Are daily health checks required and documented?

A: Health checks at the door can help someone recognize their symptoms, with adequate sick leave, it can be very effective.

Q: Is there any obligation for the employer to do contact tracing?

A: No, we are not recommending it.  Follow directions from worksafe bc and the provincial health officer.

Q: Are manufacturing workers required to wear masks (if well spaced out)?

A: Yes definitely.  If they are well spaced, maybe, if they are in separate rooms, they are not required to wear them.

Q: What is the percentage of infection that could be decreased after the 3rd dose?

A: 3rd dose is very effective against hospitalizations.  Prevention of severe disease is excellent.

Q: Is there a risk of increased sensitization with more vaccines?

A: Reaction can be more severe with more vaccines but the benefits outweigh the risks.

Q: Is there any risk of Covid 19 positive blood donor to a recipient?

A: There should not be a risk.

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