CORNWALL, Ontario – The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) has introduced new guidelines aimed at combating the spread of COVID-19 variants.
“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,” reads a statement from the EOHU. “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.”
The EOHU also has issued new guidelines for household members of individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19.
“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,” the new guidelines read.
If a test is recommended and the individual is not tested, they then must self-isolate for 10 days. All household members must quarantine for 14 days from the last day of contact with the symptomatic individual. If the symptomatic individual cannot separately isolate from the rest of the household, then the entire household must quarantine for 14 days.
“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.”
New variants of COVID-19, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom have proved to be more transmissible than previous strains, prompting the health unit’s move to update its self-isolation guidelines.