Updated COVID-19 guidance and testing sites
March 26, 2020
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To: Local Health System Partners
FOR IMMEDIATE ATTENTION
Communication with Public Health
We are streamlining our communication with area health care providers and henceforth will use email to communicate Advisory Alerts with you. If you have not already done so, please send your professional/office email address(es) to us at Health_Protection@phsd.ca immediately. These addresses will be used for the purposes of communicating urgent public health information.
Updated COVID-19 guidance
Please find attached the Ministry of Health COVID-19 Quick Reference Public Health Guidance on Testing and Clearance (PDF). This document outlines the following:
- Who should be tested: Provided that swabs and PPE are available, testing can be done based on clinical assessment and not on the provincial case definition. Due to testing prioritization, not all individuals with respiratory symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and exposure risk will be tested for COVID-19. However, please note, that all symptomatic people are advised to self-isolate, irrespective of testing results, for 14 days from symptom onset.
At this time, there are no criteria for testing and all specimens will be tested if submitted to the Public Health Ontario Laboratory. See the attached for the list of the groups that should be prioritized for testing in the context of shortages of testing supplies.
- How to manage asymptomatic patients: management of asymptomatic individuals will depend on exposure risk. Please have these patients call Public Health Sudbury & Districts to determine their risk and whether to self-monitor and/or self-isolate.
- Public Health criteria for discharging symptomatic individuals: criteria are outlined in the attached. Note that health care workers (HCW) require two negative tests obtained at least 24 hours apart. Other criteria apply if the HCW is deemed critical for operations.
Other highlights from include the following:
- The period of communicability for COVID-19 is from 48 hours prior to symptom onset to 14 days after symptom onset. Public Health is applying this updated guidance for the purposes of contact tracing.
- Swabs should NOT be done on asymptomatic patients.
- Close contacts of a patient who is swab-pending should also self-isolate until results are known.
- Close contacts of a symptomatic patient who is not tested should self-isolate for 14 days.
- Acute care settings are responsible for monitoring health care workers who were exposed to confirmed cases at work.
COVID-19 testing sites
Public Health Sudbury & Districts maintains a list of COVID-19 assessment centres on our website: https://www.phsd.ca/health-topics-programs/diseases-infections/coronavirus. Please review the webpage for referral processes and hours of operation.
Should you have questions or comments, or for immediate reporting of COVID-19, please contact the Control of Infectious Diseases Program at 705.522.9200, ext. 301 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200) or after hours at 705.688.4366.
Original Signed By
Dr. Penny Sutcliffe
Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer
This item was last modified on June 30, 2020