Here are Ontario's new self-isolation rules for people exposed to COVID
Once upon a time, the isolation period for someone with COVID-19, or even just someone who had recently travelled abroad, was 14 days, which Canada got pretty serious about enforcing up to and including mandatory quarantine hotel stays.
Though unvaccinated, asymptomatic passengers arriving in the country are still required to quarantine in a "suitable place" for those two weeks, the province of Ontario is changing up its own isolation rules for people who have been exposed to someone with the virus and believe they could have it (now that testing is so limited).
Today, @ONgov announced the further lifting of restrictions including removal of mask mandates and self-isolation in most settings starting March 21. As the #Indispensable partner of business, we continue to advocate for a safe and sustainable reopening. https://t.co/ursVtYzJVq— Ontario Chamber (@OntarioCofC) March 9, 2022
The length of the self-isolation period for infected persons became a hot topic at the end of 2021 when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed its official recommendation from 10 days to just five, prompting other organizations to do the same.
Ontario followed suit on Dec. 30, shortening quarantine from ten to just five days from the onset of symptoms for vaccinated individuals (10 for unvaccinated) who test positive for the virus, so long as they are asymptomatic after that time.
Those who live with an infected person have also been required to stay home for the duration of that period with their sick roomie, up until this point.
But now, as restrictions continue to loosen with the elimination of mask mandates in less than two weeks, the provincial government is getting rid of isolation periods altogether for certain groups, effective immediately.
Household members and close contacts of those who test positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19 are now being told that they don't have to isolate at all if they are asymptomatic and either have a booster dose (for adults), are vully vaccinated (anyone under 18), or have themselves had COVID in the last 90 days.
And if you've been in close contact with someone who has the virus but you don't actually live with them, you're not required to self-isolate at all, regardless of your vaccination status.
All of these individuals are still being advised to self-monitor for symptoms, wear a mask in public and avoid being around vulnerable demographics, such as long-term care residents, for 10 days.
household contacts who 1) are 18+ and have not received 3 COVID-19 shots, or are younger than 18 and not fully vaxxed, and 2) have not previously tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days. Persons meeting those 2 criteria should continue to isolate per gov't directions.— Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce (@ChamberYGK) March 9, 2022
"The guidelines are being updated to minimize the burden on workers and families while ensuring our highest-risk settings continue to be protected," Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said at a press conference about the further reopening of the province on Wednesday.
The rules above do only apply to people who have been exposed to a confirmed case, not confirmed cases themselves — though given that publicy-funded PCR testing in the province is now considered a luxury and rapid tests aren't cheap or easy to come by, we're all to presume we have it if we show respiratory symptoms.
Anyone with symptoms of the virus is still advised to isolate for five days and seek a test to confirm, if possible.
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