COVID-19 Modified Step Two as of January 5, 2022
In response to recent trends that show an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is temporarily moving the province into Step Two of its Roadmap to Reopen with modifications.
The changes include:
• Publicly funded and private schools will move to remote learning as of January 5th until at least January 17th
• Emergency child care planned for school-aged children of health care and other eligible frontline workers
• Reduced social gathering limits to 5 people indoor and 10 people outdoor
• Requiring businesses and organizations to ensure employees work remotely, if possible
• Businesses must limit capacity to 50%
• Closing indoor dining at restaurants, bars, and other food or drink establishments
• Closing museums, galleries, historic sites, etc.
• All non-emergent and non-urgent surgeries and procedures will be paused.
In addition, the Government has updated its COVID-19 testing and isolation guidelines effective December 31, 2021:
Publicly-funded PCR testing is available for high-risk individuals who are symptomatic and/or are at risk of severe illness form COVID. A full list of eligible individuals can be found here.
Members of the general public with mild symptoms are asked not to seek testing.
Fully vaccinated individuals, as well as children under 12 who have symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive PCR/rapid molecular or rapid antigen test are required to isolate for five days or until symptoms improve for 24hrs (if symptomatic), you are advised to:
• Self-monitor for symptoms for 10 days since you last interacted with the positive case
• Maintain masking, physical distancing and adherence to all other public health measures if leaving home
• Do not visit any high-risk settings or individuals who may be at higher risk of illness (e.g., seniors) for 10 days from your last exposure.
Unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or immunocompromised individuals will be required to:
• Isolate immediately for 10 days following your last contact. If you live with the positive case, you must isolate for the length of their isolation period.
If you work or live in a high risk-health care setting (i.e., hospitals, long-term care, retirement homes, congregate living settings) you must notify your employer if you test positive or have been in contact with an individual with COVID. Individuals who work or live in these settings should not attend work for 10 days from their symptom onset, or from their date of diagnosis. To ensure sufficient staffing levels, workers in these settings may have the opportunity to return to work on day seven of their isolation, with a negative PCR test, or two negative rapid antigen tests on day six and seven. Speak with your employer or occupational health and safety department for more information.
All household contacts must also isolate for the same duration as the person with symptoms, regardless of their vaccination status.
Implications for Occupational Therapists
Occupational therapists will need to understand and comply with the updated testing and isolation protocols including reporting to your employer if you, or someone you have been in contact with, has COVID or symptoms of COVID. Your employer will provide further details related to your organization’s protocols and when it is safe to return to work.
We are currently seeing staffing shortages across all sectors, particularly within healthcare. As COVID cases and exposures increase, additional healthcare professionals will be off sick or in isolation. Occupational therapists may be used to support operations and may be requested/required to cover areas not usually covered by OTs.
As we continue through this pandemic, we continually hear of amazing stories of how occupational therapists are resilient and flexible. OSOT continues to support you and your practice and welcomes you to contact us
to seek assistance or if there are resources we can provide.