“We have to pivot.”
Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer, said that line more than once during his Thursday press conference. And what a pivot it turned out to be. The province has made radical changes to some of the ways COVID-19 is being managed.
One of the biggest measures is that isolation rules have been changed to be in line with those recently announced by the U.S. CDC.
When it comes to those who have COVID-19, people who are vaccinated and children under 12 will now only have to isolate for 5 days, so long as their symptoms are over. When it comes to close contacts, most of those who are fully vaccinated now do not need to isolate at all.
However, those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated need to stay home for 10 days.
Testing is also about to undergo huge changes. No more lineups for tests, because effective Friday publicly-funded PCR testing will only be given to high-risk persons who are symptomatic. The government is asking members of the general public who have mild symptoms to not seek testing.
One reporter asked if this then meant that the COVID-19 daily case counts would effectively become meaningless and the chief medical officer agreed, saying we need to look beyond those numbers anyway.
Rapid tests will not be widely used and instead their rollout will be focused on hospitals, long-term care homes and retirement homes.
“We must preserve these resources for those who need them the most,” said Dr. Moore.