Health unit updates COVID guidance

The Renfrew County and District Health Unit has announced a major change in the way household members respond to potential cases of COVID-19.

The change means that household members of individuals who show symptoms of COVID-19 must self-monitor for signs they may have been infected as well, but do not have to self-isolate at home unless their family member has tested positive.

That means parents and siblings of students who show symptoms of COVID-19, for example, can continue to go to work and school as long as their family member has not tested positive for the virus.

Once an individual has tested positive, all household members would be considered a “close contact” of a confirmed COVID-19 patient and must follow public health guidance.

The health unit said Tuesday that the changes were based on updated guidance from the province that reflect “evolving information about the spread and impact of COVID-19.”

“A more targeted approach is now in place, with areas of higher COVID-19 activity having stricter guidance than other areas. Local public health units are now able to give more specific advice for their area, based on their local situation.”

The health unit said that after carefully reviewing the current state of COVID-19 infections in Renfrew County and District, “local guidance has been updated with immediate effect.”

While the changes affect household members of individuals showing symptoms of COVID-19, those with symptoms must continue to self-isolate and get tested.

The health unit said a person with symptoms can go back to school or work when they receive a negative test result, “AND it has been 24 hours since symptoms started improving, AND they have not had a fever (without medication) for 24 hours.”

“If they were not tested, they should self-isolate for 14 days, unless all the following apply:

“A health care provider diagnosed them with another illness,

“They do not have a fever (without using medication),

“It has been at least 72 hours since their symptoms started improving (if they had symptoms).”

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