Changes to Screening Priorities and Case and Contact Management
Recommended duration of isolation for symptoms of COVID-19 now decreased from 10 to 5 days for those adequately vaccinated
Article published on 10 January 2022
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The Ministry of Health and social services announced changes to screening priorities and the tracking of cases and contacts.

“Due to the marked increase in the number of cases of infection with the Omicron variant, which leads to a considerable increase in the demand for screening clinic tests and significant delays, we are now going to reserve PCR tests for certain priority clienteles,” they said in a statement (translated).

Prioritization of PCR tests (translated from the Ministry’s press release)

“PCR tests carried out in a screening clinic will now be reserved for certain higher priority clienteles. Thus, they will be refocused on:

- symptomatic people from the following groups: inpatients, emergency department patients, patient contact health workers, staff, residents, essential care providers and visitors to hospitals and settings. collective accommodation, outpatients for whom treatment against COVID-19 is being considered and people who are homeless or in precarious residential conditions;

- people from First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities and people going to these communities to work there;

- people during an admission or transfer to or from a hospital or collective accommodation;

- high-risk contacts and asymptomatic or symptomatic individuals in the context of confirmed or suspected outbreaks in high-risk settings;

- asymptomatic people in hospitals, in long-term care establishments and collective accommodation places and establishments, in accordance with provincial guidelines or directives.

New isolation instructions and contact management

The recommended duration of isolation for symptoms compatible with COVID-19 is now decreased from 10 to 5 days for those adequately vaccinated, if symptoms improve and after at least 24 hours without fever. In the case of health care workers in contact with people at risk, this isolation will be seven days. If the conditions are not met, the isolation should be for 10 days as before.

People who have had high-risk contact with these people, that is, people living in the same household, sexual partners and couples who do not live together, must isolate themselves for five days with the person . They can then come out of their isolation, but wear the mask for another five days and maintain a distance of two meters.

For moderate contact, more than 15 minutes without a mask, the symptoms should be monitored for 10 days. Double-vaccinated people do not need to self-isolate, if they wear a mask when they are over 12 years old.

People who are not prioritized for PCR tests and who have symptoms compatible with COVID-19 will be able to turn to rapid tests available in pharmacies. If it is not possible to access these tests, these people will be considered as people with COVID-19 and will have to follow the isolation protocols."

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