If you have symptoms, assume you have the virus: Kyle

In response to the rapid spike in Covid-19 cases, guidance has changed regarding testing and isolation, according to Durham Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Kyle.

PCR testing is available for eligible residents at increased risk of severe outcomes and those living and working in highest risk settings. Most individuals experiencing symptoms or close contacts of positive cases do not need a Covid-19 test to confirm they have Covid-19, he said.

“If you have symptoms of Covid-19, you can assume you have the virus and that you are contagious.”

Residents experiencing Covid-19 symptoms are advised to self-isolate immediately and visit the Health Department’s Covid-19 Case and Contact Information Hub at durham.ca/covidinfohub for more information. Residents who have been exposed to an individual who is positive for Covid-19 or experiencing Covid-19 symptoms can visit ontario.ca/exposed  for information and instructions. Please continue to stay informed, follow instructions and work together to help limit the transmission of Covid-19 in our community, Dr. Kyle said.

In response to the surge of Omicron cases and increases in Covid-19 hospitalizations, the Ontario government has temporarily moved the province into Step 2 of its Roadmap to Reopen. Effective January 5 and for at least 21 days, the restrictions articulated in O. Reg. 263/20: Rules for Areas in Step 2  will be in place. Additionally, all students in public and private schools have been moved to remote learning until January 17. It is expected that the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant will impact all sectors and will result in staff absenteeism at many workplaces, including hospitals and schools. The province has also instructed hospitals to pause all non-emergency and non-urgent surgeries and procedures to preserve critical care and human resource capacity.

The public health measures announced by the Ontario government have been implemented to curb the transmission of Covid-19 and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. Some of the public health restrictions currently in place include:

  • Social gatherings are limited to five people indoors and 10 people outdoors;
  • Capacity is limited to 50 per cent of a room for indoor weddings, funerals and religious services, rites and ceremonies;
  • Retail settings (including shopping malls), personal care services, and public libraries may operate at 50 per cent capacity;
  • Indoor dining at restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments is closed;
  • Indoor concert venues, theatres and cinemas are closed;
  • Indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities, including gyms, are closed; and
  • Outdoor spaces remain open, with restrictions in place.

The Health Department has updated its advice, information, and guidance documents to support businesses and workplaces with implementation of the latest restrictions. Please visit the Covid-19 Guidance and Advice for Businesses and Organizations at durham.ca/Covid-19Guidance  for more information on restrictions and permitted activities, said the Medical Officer of Health.

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