COVID-19: A rundown on the new rules, regulations and restrictions
By Andrew Pariser & Ahd AlAshry/RESCON
While everyone hoped last fall that the pandemic was almost over, a new super contagious, but less deadly variant took hold and has once again turned our world upside down.
Over the last three weeks, there have been countless announcements from governments, regulation changes, and amendments to best practices. This blog will focus on regulatory changes, testing, screening and quarantining, and provide members with a list of resources they can use to stay up to date. Finally, we encourage everyone to join us on January 13 for our next COVID-19 webinar. To RSVP, please visit the Eventbrite link here.
As of Jan. 5, 2022, Ontario moved back to a modified Stage 2 of the Roadmap to Reopening Plan. For more information, check out our latest member email. To see the full regulation, click here. The regulation requires businesses to have workers work remotely unless the nature of their work requires them to be on-site (think on-site construction). It also closes indoor dining, limits social gatherings, and brings a return to online learning.
Also announced was a restriction on who is eligible for tests and a suspension of the rapid testing program. This means employers should not expect new rapid test kits. There is no longer a requirement to confirm rapid test results with a PCR test, and there is no longer a requirement to report positive COVID-19 cases. This is a major change and will be a main focus of the Jan. 13 webinar where both Dr. Joel Moody (CPO) and Brian Barron (MLTSD) will present on how these policy changes will impact job sites.
Testing, Screening and Quarantining
As outlined above, Omicron is highly contagious, but less lethal. However, due to an elevated number of people infected, Ontario’s testing capacity and hospital system is being strained.
As a result, the provincial government has limited the availability of tests to priority groups which include, but are not limited to long-term care residents, healthcare workers, patients with severe and worsening symptoms, and other frontline workers. Not currently included are construction workers.
There is still a requirement to screen your workers and the most up-to-date version of the government-approved screening questionnaire can be found here. This resource is updated to reflect best practices and new information from Health Canada and the Ontario Science Table which continues to work on understanding the main symptoms of the Omicron variant.
Finally, quarantining rules have also changed. Specifically, vaccinated adults (two doses) and those under 12 are now required to isolate for five days if their symptoms have improved for at least 24 hours. For those above 12 that are unvaccinated, they must still quarantine for 10 days regardless of symptoms.
To remain up to date, please stay in touch with RESCON staff. In addition, here are recommended resources with an Ontario focus.
As Omicron continues to evolve, so will our response. For more information, contact RESCON, attend our next webinar and make sure you are on our mailing list.
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