In response to the threat of potential COVID-19 variants of concern (VOCs) and in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s updated guidelines, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) has updated its self-isolation requirements. Effective immediately, household members of individuals identified as high-risk contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, as well as those who are experiencing symptoms, must adhere to new isolation requirements.
New Self-Isolation Requirements for Household Members of High-Risk Contacts
All household members of a high-risk contact will be asked to stay home for the duration of the high-risk contact’s quarantine except for essential reasons. Essential reasons include attending work or school/childcare, errands for food, medication, and essential medical appointments. Non-essential visitors must refrain from entering the home during the isolation period. High-risk contacts must isolate for 14 days from last exposure, even if their test result comes back negative.
New Self-Isolation Requirements for Household Members of Symptomatic Individuals
If an individual is experiencing symptoms and a test is required to rule out COVID-19, ALL household members must stay at home until the individual receives a negative test result or an alternative diagnosis from a health care provider confirming the symptoms are not related to COVID-19.
If a test is recommended and the symptomatic individual is not tested, the person must isolate for 10 days from symptom onset. ALL household members must then quarantine for 14 days from their last contact with the symptomatic individual. If the symptomatic individual cannot isolate from the rest of the household, ALL household members must quarantine for 14 days, starting from the end of the symptomatic individual’s isolation period.
“Variants of concern are being detected across Ontario and urgent efforts by all are needed to slow their spread and protect our health system and the most vulnerable members of our community,” states Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the EOHU. “The variants have proven to be more contagious than the original strain of COVID-19, which means we will have to double our efforts and intensify public health practices to prevent transmitting infection.”
For more information on the new self-isolation requirements in the EOHU region, visit www.EOHU.ca/coronavirus.