Ontario Plans To Join United States To Reduce COVID Quarantine Time
The province is evaluating whether it should shorten the isolation and quarantine period for people with COVID-positive, according to recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
On Tuesday, Ontario’s top doctor, Kieran Moore, postponed a press conference scheduled to review the new U.S. guidelines, which went into effect south of the border on Monday.
“In light of the recently updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on reducing the recommended isolation and quarantine period, the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and Public Health Ontario are weighing these guidelines against the evidence. specific to Ontario, ”said Carly Luis, Director of Communications for Health Minister Christine Elliott.
U.S. health officials lowered isolation restrictions for Americans who catch COVID-19 from 10 days to five days on Monday, and also shortened the time close contacts need to self-quarantine.
Officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the guidelines are in line with growing evidence that people with coronavirus are most contagious in the two days before and three days after symptoms appear.
Updated CDC guidelines recommend people who test positive to self-isolate for five days and, if they are asymptomatic at that time, they can leave isolation if they can continue to mask themselves for five days. to minimize the risk of infecting others. The advice applies to both unvaccinated and vaccinated people.
“The Omicron variant is spreading rapidly and has the potential to impact all facets of our society,” said CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. “The CDC’s updated recommendations for isolation and quarantine balance what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses. These updates ensure that people can continue with their daily lives in a safe way. “
Last week, the province announced that hospital workers who have been in close contact with someone positive for COVID do not have to stay home and self-isolate, as long as they test negative daily for 10 days.
The UK has also reduced its COVID-19 self-isolation period from 10 to seven days, for people who test negative with a rapid test two days in a row.
Meanwhile, Ontario Long-Term Care Minister Rod Phillips on Tuesday announced more restrictions for people visiting and living in long-term care facilities, including a break for visits from people other than designated caregivers, as well as a break for daytime absences for residents.
Ontario has seen a record daily number of COVID-19 cases all week, due to the highly contagious variant of Omicron. Ontario reported 8,825 new cases on Tuesday.
On Twitter, Elliott said 187 people were now in intensive care in Ontario hospitals due to COVID-19, out of a total of 491 people hospitalized.
Health experts warn COVID numbers are likely much higher than the official number of cases as testing centers are overwhelmed and PCR tests are not available at most hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area until after start of the new year.