Human Resources Legislative Update
Ontario Issues Updated Guidance on Isolation Requirements
Date: August 12, 2021
On August 11, 2021, the Ontario government released COVID-19 Fully Immunized and Previously Positive Individuals: Case, Contact and Outbreak Management Interim Guidance (Guidance). It contains “updated recommendations for case and contact, and outbreak management of fully immunized and previously positive individuals in Ontario,” in light of the vaccination rollout and the emergence of variants of concern, such as the Delta variant.
The Guidance only applies to persons who are fully vaccinated (i.e. 14 or more days after a complete COVID-19 vaccine series) and persons who were “previously positive” (i.e. who are within 90 days of their positive test result and have been cleared from their initial infection).
The Guidance sets out the following:
- Persons who are fully vaccinated or who were “previously positive” (Persons) who are symptomatic must self-isolate immediately but can now be cleared from isolation in 24 or 48 hours, depending on their symptoms, if they receive a negative PCR test
- Persons who are symptomatic who decline testing should self-isolate for 10 days
- Persons who are household members with an individual who is symptomatic or have a high-risk exposure to a case of COVID-19 no longer need to isolate until their household member tests negative, provided that the Person remains asymptomatic
- Persons who are asymptomatic and have a high-risk exposure to COVID-19 should still be tested but are not required to isolate, unless otherwise required to do so by a Public Health Unit; they should wear a mask, physically distance and monitor for symptoms for 10 days after their last exposure, and they are encouraged to report that exposure to their employer
- Persons who are residents of long-term care/retirement homes, are inpatients or who have immunocompromising conditions should continue to self-isolate after a high-risk exposure
- Persons who test positive should continue to be managed in accordance with the Management of Cases and Contact in Ontario
- In settings with cohort-based dismissals of potentially exposed individuals (e.g. schools/childcare, camps, some workplaces), Persons may be permitted to return to the setting if an outbreak is still ongoing at the discretion of the local Public Health Unit
- Persons should continue to follow general public health guidance and recommended infection prevention and control measures.
Employers should be aware of these updated recommendations, under which fewer employees (those who are fully vaccinated or were “previously positive”) will be required to isolate.
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