The government of Ontario released new testing guidelines for COVID-19 on Sunday, May 24. Testing is now available in Huron Perth for the following populations:
- All people with at least one symptom of COVID-19, even for mild symptoms;
- People who are concerned that they have been exposed to COVID-19. This includes people who are contacts of or may have been exposed to a confirmed or suspected case;
- People who are at risk of exposure to COVID-19 through their employment, including essential workers (e.g., health care workers, grocery store employees, food processing plants).
“Anyone who is showing a COVID-19 symptom, no matter how mild, and anyone who is concerned they have been exposed to COVID-19 will be able to have a test done,” says Dr. Miriam Klassen, Medical Officer of Health for Huron Perth.
Huron Perth residents are encouraged to use the province’s online assessment at www.ontario.ca/coronavirus and if indicated, call your doctor to be assessed and sent for testing. If you do not have a family doctor, you can call Huron Perth Public Health at 1-888-221-2133 ext. 3267.
Testing is available every day of the week at testing collection sites across Huron-Perth (by appointment). “It’s important that residents make an appointment to be tested so that the staff at the testing centre can be prepared for your visit and to also reduce potential wait times,” says Dr. Klassen.
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are sent for testing, you will be told to isolate at home. Any close contacts who were in contact with you in the 48 hours before your symptoms started will also be told to isolate and to contact HPPH if they develop any symptoms. If you are not sick, but you are being tested as a close contact of a confirmed case, you will be directed to self-isolate for 14 days to ensure you do not develop symptoms.
If you are not sick, and are being tested for reasons other than being a close contact of a confirmed case, self-monitor for symptoms. Avoid public spaces and places where you cannot easily separate yourself from others if you become ill. If you develop symptoms, self-isolate immediately and contact your public health unit and your health care provider.
Over the next couple of weeks, Huron Perth Public Health will help facilitate testing of several essential worker groups and congregate settings, including retirement homes, group homes, healthcare workers, fire fighters, police, and some retail workers.
Updated Case Count in Huron Perth
Huron Perth Public Health received confirmation of a case of COVID-19 over the weekend in a male who resides in North Perth, bringing the cumulative total to 51 confirmed cases; two currently active cases. The man was symptomatic and was tested on May 21; he is recovering and self-isolating at home. HPPH is conducting the contact tracing and informing anyone who may be at risk of exposure about isolating, testing, and protecting others. “This case in a community member shows that the virus is still circulating and it’s important that we do not become complacent,” says Dr. Klassen.
The province of Ontario recently released specific recommendations for the public on how to choose, wear and care for appropriate face coverings. “We recommend that people wear a face covering when physical distancing may be a challenge or not possible, such as on public transit or in a small store,” says Dr. Klassen. For more details about face mask usage, visit: www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-stop-spread.
“While wearing masks may help, to truly stop the spread of the virus in our community, everyone must continue to maintain physical distancing, wash your hands frequently and stay home if you are sick,” advises Dr. Klassen.