New COVID-19 variants mean stricter self-isolation requirements and enhanced screening for schools

In response to the need for enhanced protection against the new more transmissible COVID-19 variants of concern (VOC), the Ministry of Health has introduced stricter self-isolation and school screening requirements.

Enhanced self-isolation requirements are in place for all household contacts of individuals who have even one symptom of COVID-19. Under the new guidance, all household members of an individual with even one symptom of COVID-19 are required stay home and self-isolate until the individual with symptoms receives a negative COVID-19 test result or receives an alternate diagnosis by a health care professional. If the individual with symptoms does not seek COVID-19 testing, all household contacts must isolate for 14 days from their last contact with that symptomatic individual.

The provincial COVID 19 self assessment and COVID-19 school and child care screener have been updated to include this change and also require anyone who has a new or worsening symptom of COVID-19—even if only one symptom—to stay home and self-isolate until:

  • They receive a negative COVID-19 test result.
  • They receive an alternative diagnosis by a health care professional.
  • Or it has been 10 days since their symptom started and they are feeling better.

“By taking these additional measures, we can better protect our community from the very real threat posed by COVID-19 variants of concern,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health with Public Health Sudbury & Districts. “The success of enhanced public health guidance for screening and self-isolation relies on everyone’s cooperation. We recognize the impact these requirements can have on individuals and families, but the consequences of variants of concern gaining a foothold in our communities warrants decisive action. These decisions are not made lightly,” added Dr. Sutcliffe.

Prevent the spread of COVID-19

The rate at which these new variants can spread is alarming, so it is more important than ever to contain the virus as much as possible. Through our choices and actions, we can make it much more difficult for COVID-19 to spread. Everyone can recommit to the behaviours that prevent transmission and continue to follow public health guidance.

  • Stay home and seek COVID-19 testing if you have symptoms, even symptoms are mild.
  • All non-essential travel should be avoided. Area residents are being exposed to the virus through travel outside our region. Stay in the area of your home community or stay in the region.
  • Get tested for COVID-19 if you have any symptoms.
  • The vaccine is highly recommended for all eligible individuals.
  • Learn more about vaccine safety and make an informed decision to choose to get vaccinated when the time comes.
  • Practise physical distancing, because any close contact could be a possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Continue to work remotely, where possible.
  • Masks or face coverings must be worn in all indoor public places in Sudbury and districts.
  • Masks or face coverings should also be worn where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Wash your hands often and when visibly dirty for 15 seconds.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm or a tissue, throw away the tissue, and wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Monitor for symptomsof COVID-19.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Download the COVID Alert app.

For more information or if you have questions, please visit phsd.ca/COVID-19 or call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).