COVID-19 Highest Risk Settings

Note: Ontario has updated public health guidance to manage COVID-19 during the respiratory illness season. 

The Province has put in place public health measures and guidance for highest risk settings in response to COVID-19 and in particular, the Omicron variant.

Highest risk settings are:

  • Hospitals and health care settings, including:
    • complex continuing care facilities and acute care facilities
  • home and community care workers
  • congregate living settings with medically and socially vulnerable individuals, including:
    • long-term care homes
    • retirement homes
    • First Nation elder care lodges
    • group homes
    • shelters
    • hospices
    • correctional institutions
    • Provincial Demonstration Schools
    • hospital schools

For more information, please refer to following resources from the Ministry of Health:

Highest risk settings self-isolation

I am an employee in a highest risk setting and have been identified as a high-risk contact. What should I do?
  • Employees working in highest risk settings who have had a high-risk exposure to a COVID-19 case should speak with their employer to report their exposure and follow their workplace guidance for return to work.
  • Employees working in highest risk settings should self-monitor for symptoms for a total of 10 days after the last exposure to the COVID-19 positive case or individual with COVID-19 symptoms.
  • If an employee develops any symptom of COVID-19 they should self-isolate immediately and seek testing if eligible.

I am an employee in a highest risk setting and I have COVID-19. When can I return to work?

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive for COVID-19 and work in a high-risk setting (such as a hospital, a long-term care home, or a retirement home), you should speak with your employer and follow your workplace guidance for return to work.

Symptomatic staff and/or patients/residents

  1. Refer to the Ministry of Health document, Management of cases and Contacts of COVID-19 in Ontario [PDF]
  2. Isolate patients/residents who are COVID-19 positive (either on a PCR or rapid antigen test) and/or experiencing symptoms to mitigate potential spread. 
  3. Contact Huron Perth Public Health to report COVID-19 positive staff and/or patients/residents by emailing IDteam@hpph.ca.  
  4. Continue to follow COVID-19 guidance for your setting.

A reminder that work self-isolation may be considered where staffing is at a critical level for your organization.  It is up to the facility to determine the need for work self-isolation, whether the staff person is eligible for work self-isolation, and any testing required.  Please refer to the above listed documents for more information.

Reporting and after hours on-call service

NOTE: If there is an urgent situation outside of health unit hours, the on-call service is available to triage requests. A resident who tests positive on a rapid test or PCR is to be reported immediately.

Please ensure sure you have reviewed the above listed guidance materials before contacting on-call. In general, risk assessments of staff do not require health unit consultation and are not considered urgent.

To reach the on-call service:

  • If you are a Huron resident or a facility in Huron County, call 519-482-7077
  • If you are a Perth resident or a facility in Perth County call 1-800-431-2054

Southwest Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) hub

The Southwest IPAC Hub is a collaboration between Middlesex-London Health Unit, the Huron Perth and Area Ontario Health Team and Southwestern Public Health. It was formed to enhance IPAC practices in community-based, congregate living settings (including long-term care homes, retirement homes, group homes, shelters, supportive housing, residential treatment centres, and hospices).

The hub brings together local partners from across the health system who have IPAC expertise, to provide advice, guidance and direct support to congregate settings in the region.

For more information and/or to request services, please visit the Southwest IPAC hub webpage.

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