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Fully Vaxxed Ontarians Have Got New Rules For What To Do If A Close Contact Gets COVID-19

The rules are different for unvaccinated and partially vaccinated Ontarians though!

The Ontario government has just released a change of the self-isolation rules in Ontario if a close contact has been exposed to COVID-19.

In several documents emailed to Narcity on Wednesday, August 11, the province revealed a new set of rules for what Ontarians will have to do if they were in close contact with someone who tested positive with COVID-19 or if they share a household with someone who was exposed to the virus.

However, the procedures differ greatly depending on if Ontarians are fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated or not vaccinated at all.

Courtesy of the Ontario government

What will happen if I'm unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated and I'm exposed to COVID-19?

Anyone who is unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated and has been exposed to COVID-19 will have to self-isolate no matter what and get tested right away. They are also recommended to get another test seven days or later, even if a negative result was initially received.

If unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated Ontarians who are displaying symptoms see an improvement in those symptoms for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if they are gastrointestinal), then fully vaxxed household members won't have to self-isolate. Unvaxxed and or partially vaxxed people should self-isolate while waiting for the test results to come back and only leave the house for essential reasons like work and school.

If no symptoms are being felt from the unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated exposed individual, other household members with the same vaccine status should still stay at home and leave only for essential purposes during the isolation period.

What will happen if I'm fully vaccinated and I'm exposed to COVID-19?

Fully vaccinated individuals who aren't experiencing any symptoms are no longer required to self-isolate if they've been exposed to COVID-19. Everyone else living in the same household and who is fully vaccinated will also not be required to self-isolate.

If a fully vaxxed person is displaying COVID-19 symptoms, however, they will still need to self-isolate and get immediately tested. A positive test will still require self-isolation for ten days, while a negative result will allow fully vaxxed folks to break quarantine "once symptoms have improved for at least 24 hours — or 48 hours if the symptoms are gastrointestinal." Other fully vaccinated household members can still forgo self-isolation.

However, if other household members are unvaccinated and the exposed individual is displaying symptoms, they will need to quarantine until the exposed person gets a negative test result.

What if I had already been previously positive with COVID-19 and I'm exposed?

The same rules and guidelines apply as fully vaccinated residents apply to Ontarians who were previously positive with COVID-19.

According to the Ford government, an Ontarian is defined as previously positive when they had a confirmed case of COVID-19 90 days ago or less and have since been cleared of their initial infection of the virus.

Anyone who received their positive result more than 90 days ago is no longer considered as previously positive. This classification also does not apply to anyone who was infected outside of Canada or who is uncertain that their positive result was a true infection.

"This does not mean that re-infection is not possible within 90 days of infection, particularly given potential for immune escape with [variants of concern]," the document noted. "However, the low risk of potential transmission from exposed resolved cases who remain asymptomatic are likely outweighed by the potential benefits of avoiding unnecessary self-isolation."

Self-isolation could still be required by the public health unit no matter what your vaccine status is. Those who are immunocompromised or live in high congregate settings like long-term care facilities are asked to consult the COVID-19 Fully Immunized and Previously Positive Individuals: Case, Contact and Outbreak Management Interim Guidance pamphlet.

Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on the vaccines and can answer any questions you may have. Click here for more information.

This article's cover image is used for illustrative purposes only.
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