Students, staff and faculty are strongly encouraged to seek a third vaccine dose when eligible and, if possible, before returning to campus; third doses reduce the chance of acquiring and transmitting Omicron. Individuals age 18+ who are 84 days post second dose in the KFL&A region can now book an appointment to receive their third dose here. A student-focused social media campaign is also being launched today to encourage students to get their third dose prior to returning to campus.
Additionally, Student Wellness Services will begin to offer on-campus, drop-in vaccination clinics beginning Friday, Jan. 14. The clinics will be open to students, staff, and faculty. More information can be found on the Student Wellness Services website.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, isolate
Individuals with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 are presumed positive and they should follow isolation and/or self-monitoring guidelines.
- Individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 who are fully vaccinated, as well as children under 12, are required to isolate for five days following the onset of symptoms. This also applies to their household contacts.
- The isolation can end after five days if symptoms are resolved or improving for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if the symptoms affect the digestive system), and all public health and safety measures, such as masking and physical distancing, are followed.
- Individuals 12 and older who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or immunocompromised are required to isolate for 10 days.
COVID-19 symptoms include:
- fever or chills
- shortness of breath
- decreased or loss of taste or smell
- two or more of:
- runny nose or nasal congestion
- extreme fatigue
- sore throat
- muscle aches or joint pain
- gastrointestinal symptoms (such as vomiting or diarrhea)
There is increasing evidence that single layer cloth masks are insufficient protection against the highly transmissible Omicron variant. Individuals are strongly encouraged to wear double or triple-layered non-woven disposable masks instead of cloth masks. Fit is important – make sure the mask is well-fitted to your face.
New PCR testing guidelines for select groups
Given the prevalence of Omicron, symptomatic isolation provides us with the best protection against the spread of the virus - testing is not the best line of defence.
In addition, the province has implemented new testing guidelines, which focus on testing those designated as high-risk either by virtue of setting or risk of severe illness to continue to safeguard hospitals and ICU capacity, protecting the most vulnerable and maintaining the stability of critical infrastructure and workforces. KFL&A Public Health, in accordance with Ontario Public Health, announced that effective December 31st publicly funded PCR testing will only be available for individuals designated as high-risk. A full list of eligible individuals can be found here.
Testing for asymptomatic contacts of cases is generally no longer recommended, except for those designated within a high-risk category.
Appropriate Use of Rapid Antigen Testing
Ontario currently has a limited supply of rapid antigen tests that are being prioritized for health care and high risk settings, including hospitals, long-term care, retirement homes, other congregate living settings and institutions, and other settings as directed by the local public health unit. This includes rapid antigen test use for “test-to-work” in which asymptomatic staff in these sectors can return to work when they would otherwise be in isolation at home.