With COVID-19 cases on the rise in Canada, new guidelines for isolation have been released.
Anyone who is symptomatic, or has a household member who is symptomatic, should self-isolate pending COVID-19 test results.
The individual who is showing symptoms must stay in his/her own room and use his/her own bathroom — if possible. Individuals should not use common areas such as the living room or kitchen. If for some reason the symptomatic person has to enter an area where other people are, or will be, the individual must wear a mask.
If the test results come back negative, then all asymptomatic people in the home no longer need to self-isolate.
This change is to help stop the transmission of the virus. This means no one in the household goes to school or work until the test results come back. The only people this excludes is health-care workers and first responders; other essential workers maybe exempt as well.
How To Properly Self-Isolate
Self-isolating individuals should use their own dedicated washroom. If that cannot happen, then the isolated individual must wear a mask to the washroom, flush with the lid down and wash their hands with hand sanitizer or soap and water for at least 15 seconds. The area should be disinfected after use.
People who live in a condo or apartment building must stay in their suite. If a person has a private balcony, they're allowed to use it as long as it is two metres away from their neighbour's balcony.
People living alone, or with someone who is self-isolating, must have groceries and other supplies dropped off at their door.
A person self-isolating should cancel or notify any service providers.
How To Care For Someone Who Is Self-Isolating
In the event that a child or dependent is symptomatic or contracts COVID-19, then only one person should be a caregiver.
The person providing care should not be someone who is at greater risk of contracting COVID-19, such as people who are 60 years old or older, immunocompromised or have underlying health issues.
Caregivers can lower their risk of getting sick by washing their hands, wearing a mask and other personal protective equipment including eye protection. Eyeglasses are not enough.
When handling the person's laundry, the caregiver should wear disposable gloves and a mask. Dirty laundry should be put in a laundry bag or basket lined with a plastic bag.
Use regular laundry soap and set the washing machine to "sanitize or hot," then thoroughly dry the clothes.
Reducing Household Cases
The new regualtions are meant to cut down on additional cases within households.
Once a person tests positive for COVID-19, then investigators need to track down who may have been a close contact with that person — someone who was less than two metres away from the case for more than 15 minutes. Close contacts are then advised to self-isolate.
Many household members are also becoming cases, because the person who tested positive is unable to successfully self-isolate from others.
So please do your part to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 if a household member is suspected of having the virus stay home until you know for sure.