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Highest Risk Settings

 

Highest risk settings include:

  • Hospitals (including complex continuing care facilities and paramedic services)
  • Congregate living settings, including Long-Term Care, retirement homes, First Nation eldercare lodges, group home, shelters, hospices and correctional institutions

Under the Health Promotion and Protection Act, the Haldimand Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) is required to respond to reports of suspected and confirmed outbreaks of gastroenteritis and respiratory illness in institutional settings. HNHU helps the highest risk settings manage and prevent outbreaks.

 

Note: Long-Term Care, retirement homes, and congregate living settings should contact their HNHU investigator with any questions or concerns regarding COVID-19 or other infectious diseases by calling 519-426-6170.

Provincial Guidance Documents
Important Memos from HNHU for Long-term Care Homes / Retirement Homes / Congregate Living settings

 

Managing COVID-19 in Highest Risk Settings

 

Who is eligible for PCR testing in highest risk settings?

  • Symptomatic staff, volunteers, resident/inpatients, essential care providers, and visitors in highest risk settings
  • Symptomatic household members of workers in highest risk settings
  • High-risk contacts and asymptomatic/symptomatic people in the context of confirmed or suspected outbreaks in highest-risk settings will also have access to PCR testing.
  • Asymptomatic testing in hospitals, long-term care, retirement homes and other congregate living settings and institutions will also be available as per provincial guidance and/or Directives, or as directed by Haldimand Norfolk Health Unit.

Visit HNHU’s testing webpage here

I work/volunteer in a highest-risk setting and have symptoms. What should I do?

  • If you have COVID-19 symptoms, self-isolate and follow the flow chart below

 

You have symptoms and work volunteer in a highest risk setting. Now what?

 

I work in a highest-risk setting and my household member tested positive/has symptoms. What should I do?

  • Self-isolate for the same amount of time as the positive/symptomatic person.

  • Wear a well-fitted mask in public, physical distance and maintain other public health measures for 10 days following your last exposure if leaving home.
  • You should NOT visit any highest risk settings or individuals who may be at higher risk of illness (i.e. seniors or immunocompromised) for 10 days from your last exposure.

 

  • Do NOT attend work for 10 days from your last exposure.
  • Notify your employer and follow any work restrictions. If there is a critical staff shortage, you may be able to attend work under work-self isolation.
  • If you develop symptoms, get tested and follow the guidance in the section above.
I work in a highest-risk setting and I am a close contact with someone (not in my household) who has tested positive for COVID-19 or someone with COVID-19 symptoms. What do I do?

If you are fully vaccinated:

  • Self-monitor for symptoms for 10 days.
    • Wear a well-fitted mask in public, physical distance and maintain other public health measures for 10 days following your last exposure if leaving home.
    • You should NOT visit any highest risk settings or individuals who may be at higher risk of illness (i.e. seniors or immunocompromised) for 10 days from your last exposure.
  • If you are immunocompromised you should self-isolate for at least 10 days from your last exposure and until you have no fever and other symptoms are improving for 24 hours (or 48 hours for gastrointestinal symptoms).
  • Get tested.
  • You should NOT attend work for 10 days from your last exposure.
  • Report your exposure to your employer and follow any work restrictions. If there is a critical staff shortage, you may be able to attend work under work-self isolation.
  • If you develop any symptoms, get tested as soon as possible and self-isolate until you get your result.

If you are not fully-vaccinated

  • Self-isolate immediately for 10 days from your last exposure and until you have no fever and other symptoms are improving for 24 hours (or 48 hours for gastrointestinal symptoms).
  • Get tested as soon as possible.
  • Notify your employer and follow any work restrictions and early clearance guidance
I work in a highest-risk setting and I tested positive for COVID-19. What should I do?

  • After a positive result with a PCR test, you will receive a text message and/or call from HNHU or provincial case and contact management staff.
  • A positive result on a rapid antigen test is not reportable to public health so you will not receive a text or call.
  • Inform your employer.
  • Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated staff members are to isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms, or from their test date, whichever is the earliest.
  • Fully vaccinated staff members are to isolate for 5 days from the onset of symptoms, or from their test date, whichever is the earliest.
    • Staff are not to attend work until 10 days from last exposure.
  • Symptoms must be improving for 24 hours (or 48 hours if gastrointestinal symptoms) before leaving isolation for both vaccinated and unvaccinated cases.

Management of Critical Staffing Shortages in Highest Risk Settings

To support the management of critical staffing shortages in highest risk settings, a test-to-work strategy may be implemented, in which staff are able to return to work when they would otherwise be required to self-isolate or otherwise not attend work for 10 days from last exposure.

 

Organizational policies and procedures must be established in order to implement a test-to-work strategy and minimize the potential risks associated with the ongoing transmission of COVID-19 within the workplace.

 

Highest risk settings must consult with the HNHU if:

  • The home/facility is in suspected or confirmed outbreak. A HNHU Public Health Nurse will help manage the outbreak and will provide support for returning staff and work-self isolation.
  • The home/facility has a positive staff person they want to return to work early on work-self isolation.

For all other scenarios, please follow your policies, and Ministry guidance to guide decisions on staff returning to work early and work-self isolation.

 

We are still here to support you.

If you require any additional support, please contact our COVID-19 hotline at 519-426-6170 ext. 9999 or e-mail us at [email protected].

Please note: we are experiencing higher than normal call volumes and it may take a few days to return to your call. Please do not leave multiple messages.