ontario unvaccinated

Ontario now has different sets of rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated people

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has not yet caved to the idea of a "vaccine passport" that would give immunized people exclusive to access non-essential services, but the province now has separate rules for vaxxed and unvaxxed folks when it comes to case management.

Hey, it's a start, and anything counts as we stare down the barrel of a fourth wave brought about by the delta variant.

A new "interim guidance document" released by the Ministry of Health on Wednesday contains what officials call "updated recommendations for case and contact, and outbreak management of fully immunized and previously positive individuals in Ontario."

This document was released alongside a similar set of instructions for people who are not vaccinated, and is meant to "supplement or supersede (where applicable)" the unvaccinated contingent's rules for self-isolation after being exposed to COVID.

There's a lot to parse through between the two tomes, which are 12 and 55-pages-long respectively, but the jist of the matter is that people who've been vaccinated will be less restricted moving forward than those who've not yet had their shots.

Another 27-page-long document applies to schools, specifically, and states that students or teachers exposed to COVID-19 won't have to stay home and isolated if they've been fully-vaccinated and show no symptoms of the coronavirus.

As for everybody else (with some exceptions,) there are two camps with two sets of guidelines for case management.

Fully-vaccinated individuals

Ontarians with two shots (at least 14 days ago) who are exposed to someone with positive test results are (in most cases) exempt from the requirement to self-isolate, but only if they're asymptomatic.

Previously-positive cases are included in this category and are degined as "a confirmed case of COVID-19 where their initial positive result was less than 90 days ago AND they have been cleared from their initial infection."

The province still recommends that individuals from both categories above get tested, regardless of symptoms, and that they self-monitor for symptoms of the virus for ten days following exposure.

If a vaccinated person ends up developing symptoms, they should self-isolate and get tested, but vaxxed members of their households don't need to self-isolate as they would have in the past. If the test comes back negative, the vaccinated person is good to leave the house as soon as their symptoms resolve.

Someone who tests positive for the virus, on the other hand, would be instructed to self-isolate for 10 days, even if fully vaccinated.

Unvaccinated individuals

Those who have not yet been fully vaccinated (including those who've only had one shot) would need to self-isolate immediately for 10 days after being exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19.

If the test comes back negative, you'd still need to self-isolate for ten days if you aren't fully immunized. The government recommends a second test after seven days of self-isolation in these cases.

Members of the same household don't have to isolate if they've been vaccinated, but unvaccinated households will need to self-isolate alongside their exposed loved one.

Regardless of your status, officials ask that all Ontarians continue to follow general public health guidance and recommended infection prevention and control measures, both in Step 3 and once we emerge from the government's reopening plan.

Those on the fence about getting vaccinated are also being asked to come forward and help the province reopen faster.

"As our rollout continues to edge forward, we need those who remain unvaccinated to step up," said Ontario's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, during a press conference Wednesday.

"Recent data shows that people who are unvaccinated are approximately eight times more likely to get infected with COVID-19 compared to fully vaccinated individuals."

Lead photo by

Premier of Ontario Photography


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