Eastern Ontario Health Unit issues new COVID-19 self-isolation requirements for household members

OTTAWA — The Eastern Ontario Health Unit is extending self-isolation measures to household members of high-risk contacts and symptomatic individuals in response to the threat of potential COVID-19 variants.

The health unit covering Alexandria, Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Clarence-Rockland, Casselman and Winchester has updated its self-isolation requirements in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s updated guidelines.

“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,” said Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Eastern Ontario’s Medical Officer of Health.

“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.”

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.

Under the new rules, 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, errands for food and medication and essential medical appointments.

High-risk contacts of confirmed cases of COVID-19 must isolate for 14 days from last exposure, even if their test result comes back negative. The health unit says non-essential visitors are not allowed to enter the home during the isolation period.

New self-isolation requirements for household members of symptomatic individuals state that all household members must stay home until the individual experiencing symptoms receives a negative test result.

If a test is recommended and the symptomatic individual is not tested, the person must isolate for 10 days from symptom onset. The health unit says all household members must quarantine for 14 days from their last contact with the symptomatic individual.

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