Omicron spreads quickly between people, even if they are vaccinated. The Delta variant is still circulating and has a higher risk of illness and hospitalization.
- COVID-19 spreads through tiny droplets of spit that travel through the air when a person coughs, sneezes, or talks.
- These droplets can land in the mouth or nose of people nearby.
- You can also catch COVID-19 if you touch an infected person, by shaking hands for example, and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.
- The virus moves when we do.
- Travel and visiting are strongly discouraged during outbreaks.
- We recommend that you:
- Wear a mask
- Wash your hands often
- Stay 6 metres/2 feet from people who don’t live with you
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue
- When a virus moves between people and reproduces in the body, it mutates (changes).
- This creates new variants, which are different versions of the same virus.
- Different variants of COVID-19 cause similar symptoms, but can have slightly different characteristics, and act differently.
- For example:
- The Omicron variant spreads much more easily than other variants.
- Double vaccination is less effective against it, but still provides an important layer of protection.
- A booster shot increases protection against Omicron.
- Vaccination and following precautionary measures are our best protection from variants.
For updated information about variants in Quebec, visit: https://www.inspq.qc.ca/covid-19/donnees/variants
- Most people who test positive for COVID-19 and have mild or moderate symptoms are considered contagious for 10 -14 days from the first day their symptoms began.
- Some people who have a weaker immune system and people with severe COVID-19 (for example patients in the ICU), can remain contagious for a longer time.
- If someone does not have symptoms but tested positive for COVID-19, the 10-day period of isolation begins on the date of the positive test.
- The contagion period for the COVID-19 virus is 10 days, which is why 10 days of isolation are required for people who are infected, or who are a close contact of a case.
- Isolating and staying at home while you’re contagious reduces the chance of spreading the virus to people around you.
- Even after the contagious period is over, people should be symptom-free for at least 48 hours before they finish their isolation period.
- A person who had mild or moderate COVID-19 is usually considered recovered 48 hours after their 10-14 days isolation period ends, as long as they have no symptoms.
- Someone is considered to have recovered from COVID-19 when they are no longer infected with COVID-19 and no longer need to isolate.
- Once you have recovered from an infection, you have to continue precautionary measures (wear a mask, physical distancing), just like people who have not been infected.
- If a person is isolating in a house with other people who are infected, everyone should remain in isolation until the last person in the household is considered recovered (10-14 days of isolation + 48 hours symptom-free).
Precautionary measures help keep us safe. Follow community guidelines for gatherings and travel. Stay at home if you are isolating. Limit social contacts, and be careful when you are with other people who don’t live with you.
- Get vaccinated with 2 doses + a booster dose if you are 18 or older.
- Get vaccinated with 3 doses + a booster dose if you are 18 years and old AND are immunocompromised or on dialysis.
- If you are 12-17, complete your primary COVID-19 vaccine series (2 doses). If you are immunocompromised or on dialysis, a complete series of vaccines is 3 doses.
- Consider getting your children aged 5-11 vaccinated with a 1st dose. The Cree Health Board expects 2nd doses will be available for children in Winter 2022.
Wash your hands
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and hot water for 20 seconds, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer (70% or more).
- Keep your distance from others.
- Stay at least 6 feet (2 metres) apart from people who do not live with you.
Wear a mask
- Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth when required.
- Medical masks provide more protection than homemade or cloth masks.
Keep good hygiene
- Sneeze into your elbow.
- Clean high-touch surfaces (phones, light switches, handles) often.
- Vaccination helps protect you, your family, and your community.
- Vaccinated people are much less likely to develop severe complications from COVID-19 and be hospitalized.
- Vaccinated people who do become infected with COVID-19 may be contagious for a shorter period than unvaccinated people.
- Vaccination teaches your body how to recognize and fight a virus.
- A booster dose extends the protection of earlier doses.
- If more people are vaccinated, the virus has less opportunity to spread and change into other variants.
- Masks help protect us from breathing in the droplets that spread the COVID-19 virus.
- Masks help to keep us from spreading COVID-19 to others.
- Masks should be worn in public indoor spaces and when you can’t keep a distance of 2 metres/6 feet (2 arms’ length) between yourself and people who do not live with you.
- If available, wear a medical mask that fully covers your nose and mouth. Masks should be washed or thrown out (if disposable) after each use.
- Avoid touching your mask. Use the ties or bands to put it on or take it off.
- Wash or sanitize your hands after touching your mask.
Rapid antigen tests are now available in Eeyou Istchee to increase our overall testing capacity. These DIY nasal swabs can tell you within minutes if you have COVID-19 or not, but when should you use one and what should you do with the result?