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Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health

Understanding Self-Isolation

Page last updated: February 22, 2021

When do I need to self-isolate? Am I legally required to self-isolate?

  • The province released updated Testing and Clearance Guidance effective October 1, 2020.
    • Individuals with a high-risk exposure (have travelled out of the country OR have had contact with positive case) must isolate regardless of test result for a minimum of 14 days from last exposure. Houehold members of individuals that had a high-risk contact with a positive case must avoid any non-essential outings or gatherings for the duration of the high-risk contact’s isolation period.
    • Individuals who are advised to seek testing who do not get tested are to isolate for 10 days from symptom onset, AND symptoms have been improving for 24 hours AND they do not have a fever (without medication). All household members must isolate for 14 days from the affected individual’s symptom onset.
    • Individuals who are advised to seek testing and are waiting for test results must isolate until they receive a negative test result AND their symptoms have been improving for 24 hours AND they do not have a fever (without medication).
    • Individuals who are household members of a person experiencing symptoms of the virus must isolate until the symptomatic individual receives negative test results or an alternative diagnosis from a health care provider.
    • Individuals who have mild to moderate symptoms and receive positive test results must isolate for 10 days from symptom onset (or from testing date if asymptomatic) AND until symptoms have been improving for 24 hours AND they do not have a fever (without medication).
    • Individuals with severe illness or severe immune compromise who receive positive test results must isolate for 20 days from symptom onset AND symptoms have been improving for 24 hours AND they do not have a fever (without medication).

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health, has issued a Class Order under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. This order enables Hastings Prince Edward Public Health to enforce self-isolation requirements for all individuals who have been advised to do so. Please review our Class Order fact sheet for more information. The minimum fine for violating self-isolation orders is $750.

I am required to self-isolate. What does this mean?

Here are the things to remember when you need to self-isolate:

  • Stay at home – do not go to work, school or shopping
  • Stay in a separate room, away from other people in your home as much as possible and use a separate washroom, if possible
  • Do not have visitors in your home, unless they are essential
  • Wear a mask when you cannot maintain a physical distance of 2-metres in your home
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid sharing items that can come into contact with saliva, such as toothbrushes, eating utensils, cups/bottles, towels, bedding
  • Clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces in your home, including bathroom and toilet surfaces, at least once a day and when contaminated with respiratory secretions

Where do I find information on quarantine requirements for travellers entering Canada?

Please visit Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Travel restrictions, exemptions and advice for current information.

I am required to self-isolate. Can I go for a drive, walk my dog, or check my mail?

If you are required to self-isolate, you may not leave your property during your self-isolation period. Please consider asking a friend/family member for help, using online shopping, or a food delivery service to get your groceries/essentials delivered to you. Information shared in our recent Facebook post about local businesses offering delivery services may also be helpful.

How does public health identify high risk contacts, and what do household members of high-risk contacts need to do?

  • Every case is investigated by public health and contacts are identified. All contacts are reviewed by public health staff and determined whether they are at a high risk or low risk of COVID-19 transmission.
  • High risk contacts are considered to be individuals who have been in close contact with the positive case during their contagious period.
    • Their contagious period is considered to be 48 hours prior to symptom onset, and up to 10 days after symptom onset.
    • High risk contacts are advised to isolate as soon as they are identified, for 14 days following their potential date of exposure. This isolation ensures they are not interacting with others during their contagious period.
    • Household members of high-risk contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, must avoid any non-essential outings or gatherings for the duration of the high-risk contact’s isolation period.
  • Low risk contacts are considered to be individuals who have had very brief or distanced interaction with the positive case, which results in a very low risk of COVID-19 transmission.
    • Low risk contacts are required to self monitor for symptoms, and seek testing if symptoms develop. Unless symptoms develop, they can continue to attend work or school, while practicing regular public health precautions.
    • Close contacts of high risk contacts are considered to be low risk contacts, as they are not identified as being in close contact with a positive case during the positive case’s contagious period and are not required to seek testing or isolate unless symptoms develop, or if the high risk contact becomes a case.
    • When a positive case isolates as soon as symptoms develop, and all high risk contacts who interacted with them within 48 hours prior to symptom onset isolate as well, the risk of transmission beyond these individuals is very low.
    • Individuals who may have had exposure to COVID-19 are not known to transmit the virus during their incubation period, which occurs prior to their contagious period. This means that high risk contacts are very unlikely to transmit the virus to their own contacts before they have been identified as being high risk, contacted by public health, and begin isolating.
  • Public health uses an abundance of caution when identifying individuals that may have been at risk of exposure to a positive case. The public can be reassured that the investigation process always errs on the side of caution to prevent further spread of the virus.

I have a complaint about someone not complying with the federal quarantine requirements. Who should I call?

Please report this by calling the federal COVID-19 hot-line at 1-833-784-4397.

I have been identified as a high-risk contact, but I am an essential health care worker. What should I do?

Public Health will provide you with specific guidance for your situation. Health Care Workers who are identified as high risk contacts are required to self-isolate. However, certain individuals may be identified as essential health care workers. Essential workers are critical to operations in their organization, and may continue working with strict isolation and infection control precautions in place. To learn more about self-isolation while working, please review Public Health Ontario’s recommendations for Self-Isolation While at Work (for Essential Health Care Workers).

Resources for Self-Isolation:

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COVID-19 VACCINES IN HPEPH

HPEPH is currently offering vaccine to eligible groups. In order to keep our phone lines free for those who are currently eligible, please do NOT contact us to inquire about vaccinations unless you have been invited to participate.

Groups Currently Eligible to Book at Ontario.ca/bookvaccine:

  • Individuals turning 50 and over in 2021
  • Health care or personal support workers
  • Childcare workers (licensed & unlicensed)
  • Education workers (including special education)
  • Residents and staff in care homes and group living settings (including essential caregivers)
  • People with highest-risk health conditions and their caregivers (for example, pregnancy, organ transplant, multiple sclerosis)
  • People with high risk health conditions and their caregivers (for example, BMI of over 40, chemotherapy, Down syndrome)
  • People with at-risk health conditions (for example, autoimmune disorders, heart disease, diabetes)
  • Chronic home health care recipients
  • First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals, including members of their household
  • People who cannot work from home (Group One and Group Two)

Groups Eligible to Book at Pharmacies:

Groups Eligible to Pre-Register

For booking information for eligible individuals, please visit  hpePublicHealth.ca/covid-19-vaccines/

CURRENT RESTRICTIONS IN HPEPH

A province-wide Stay-at-Home order is in effect, and requires everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise, or for work that cannot be done remotely. Please avoid close contact with anyone outside your household. For more information, visit our COVID-19 page.

POTENTIAL EXPOSURE TO COVID-19?

If you are concerned about potential exposure to a positive case of COVID-19, please be reassured that any contacts of a confirmed case will be contacted directly and monitored by public health.

Low-risk and indirect contacts should self monitor for symptoms for 14 days from the time of potential exposure and seek testing if symptoms develop. Low risk contacts do not need to isolate unless symptoms develop, and can continue to attend school/work/daycare while monitoring for symptoms.