Recently, the Province of Ontario changed how public health units will contact people who test positive for COVID-19. This change is in response to rising cases across the province and will focus on protecting members of our community that are in high-risk settings like schools, retirement homes, other congregate living settings, and acute healthcare settings.
With the change, there is now a centralized Provincial Workforce that will contact individuals that test positive for COVID-19. Initial contact from this workforce will be made by SMS text message where possible. Using text helps to reach positive cases in a timely manner. You must follow the instructions given to you in this text. In addition to the initial text, you will also receive a phone call from a Provincial Workforce case manager with further information.
If you don’t have a cell phone, you will initially receive a phone call from a Provincial Workforce case manager.
Please note, because of rapidly increasing case numbers, contact from the Provincial Workforce may be delayed and take up to a few days.
What Case and Contact Management Will Look Like for All COVID-19 Cases
The Provincial Workforce case manager will provide cases with self-isolation instructions as well as testing and self-isolation information to be passed onto their household members and other high-risk contacts. You will now be asked to notify people of their exposure to your positive case. This information will be shared as a virtual handout.
The instructions given to you be the Provincial Workforce will vary depending on whether you are:
- A household member of the positive case or not;
- Vaccinated or unvaccinated; and
- Symptomatic or asymptomatic.
What Case and Contact Management Will Look Like for COVID-19 Cases in High-Risk Settings
After initial contact, from the Provincial Workforce, if a case is determined to live, work, attend, volunteer, or be admitted in a high-risk setting (during the time they were infectious), the Provincial Workforce will send the case to the local public health unit for follow up. High-risk settings include:
- Hospitals and Health care settings (including complex continuing care facilities and acute care facilities);
- Congregate living settings (E.g. Long-Term Care, Retirement Homes, group homes, shelters, hospices, post-secondary dormitories, temporary foreign worker setting, correctional institutions);
- Elementary School, Middle School or Secondary School; and
- Child Care Centres, Camps.
These changes to case and contact tracing and management allow public health units, including CK Public Health, to use their resources to focus on vaccination to the reduce the severity of symptoms. Less-severe symptoms reduce the strain on our local healthcare system.
As a reminder, all adults 18+ are currently eligible for their booster vaccine as long as it has been at least 84 days since your second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. To schedule your appointment at a CK Public Health clinic, visit GetYourShotCK.ca or call 519.351.1010 and leave a message. Select pharmacies are also offering the vaccine. To find a local pharmacy offering the COVID-19 vaccine, see here https://covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations.