New change in self-isolation, return-to-work, and testing guidelines for novel coronavirus. Please follow the guidance below.

What’s New?

  • Change in duration of self-isolation for symptomatic individuals and cases reduced from 14 days to 10 days

  • No change in duration of self-isolation for asymptomatic contacts

  • Change in guidelines for health care workers: negative swab result no longer needed to return to work, and HCWs in patient care areas to wear a surgical mask during a shift

  • Change in testing guidelines: testing of those “likely to be hospitalized” includes pregnant women in their 3rd trimester with respiratory symptoms

(**new**) Change in duration of self-isolation for symptomatic individuals reduced to 10 days

  • Patients, with or without a history of travel, who have respiratory symptoms that can be managed at home, should self-isolate at home for at least 10 days after onset of their symptoms

  • This new guideline has decreased the self-isolation period from 14 days to 10 days for symptomatic patients

  • After 10 days, if their temperature is normal and they feel better, they can return to routine activities. If patients continue to have symptoms other than a cough, advise them to continue self-isolating until symptoms have resolved. A dry cough may persist for several weeks after infection has resolved, so patients with only a dry cough and other resolved symptoms can stop self-isolation after 10 days.
  • Asymptomatic individuals who are contacts of a confirmed COVID case or are self-isolating due to travel outside Canada should continue to self-isolate for 14 days from date of exposure. If they become symptomatic, they should follow the above guidance for symptomatic patients. Exemptions apply to HCWs. For HCW guidance on self-isolation, please refer to the website Q&A for Fraser Health staff, medical staff, volunteers and patient partners.

(**new**) Change in guidelines for health care workers

  • Health care workers who test positive for COVID-19 no longer require a negative test of clearance to return to work. 

  • Such HCWs should follow the guidance above (i.e. self-isolation for 10 days from onset of symptoms) as instructions on return to work

  • HCWs in patient care areas are to wear a surgical mask during their shift. The mask can be donned at the beginning of the shift and can be worn throughout the entire shift as long as it is not visibly soiled, damp, damaged or hard to breathe/see through; it does not need to be changed between patients.

(**new**) Change in testing guidelines

  • When testing, only one swab needs to be collected, with NP swabs preferred over throat swabs.

  • Immunocompromised individuals may be swabbed at the discretion of their health care provider based on individualized assessment.

Those who should be tested for COVID-19:

 Those who do not need to be tested for COVID-19:

(**new**) Patients with respiratory symptoms who are:

  1. Hospitalized, or likely to be hospitalized, including pregnant women in their 3rd trimester

  2. Health Care Workers

  3. Residents of long term care facilities

  4. Part of an investigation of a cluster or outbreak (testing will be organized by Public Health)

  1. Patients without symptoms

  2. Patients with mild respiratory symptoms, who can be managed at home. This includes travelers returning to Canada who have an onset of illness within 14 days of return

Note: most patients with lab-confirmed disease have mild to moderate symptoms and recover at home with limited medical intervention.


 (**new**) Swabs are prioritized for processing. Prioritize testing by labelling the requisition as coming from:

Hospital (label as HOSP) | Long-term care facility (label as LTCF) | Health Care Worker (label as HCW1 for those in roles critical to direct patient care delivery, or HCW2 for those in roles critical to supporting patient care delivery)

Please refer to the previous MHO alert for information on sample collection and discharge instruction.

comments powered by Disqus