Update on COVID-19, April 6, 2021

Posted Tuesday April 06, 2021

Posted By: Emily Ngo

Category: General

To: Ottawa Physicians, NPs, Midwives, Travel, and Walk-in Clinics
Date: April 6, 2021
From: Dr Michelle Foote, Medical Director, COVID and Schools, Ottawa Public Health, Dr Robin Taylor, AMOH, Physician Engagement, Ottawa Public Health

Dear Colleagues,

The rate of COVID-19 in Ottawa reported in the previous 7 days has now reached approximately 124 per 100,000 population, and in this context we would like to provide you with information that may help you to advise patients, especially with respect to children that attend school and child care. If you are interested in seeing more measures pertaining to the pandemic in Ottawa, please check out the Ottawa Public Health (OPH) COVID-19 Dashboard.

Low Threshold for Testing

In this context of increasing transmission of COVID-19 in the community, it is important that testing be recommended for all individuals who develop one or more symptom of COVID-19.

  • With the arrival of spring and seasonal allergies aligning with the increase of COVID-19 in the community, it will be challenging to distinguish symptoms of COVID-19 from those of seasonal allergies; please keep COVID-19 on the differential and have a low threshold to recommend testing.

If symptomatic children do not get tested

You may be getting questions from parents about when children can return to school or childcare after having symptoms compatible with COVID-19, but who were not tested for COVID-19.

  • Symptomatic individuals who are not tested for COVID-19 must isolate for 10 days from symptom onset.
  • As well, household contacts of these symptomatic individuals must isolate for 14 days from break in contact with the symptomatic individual.
  • If there is no break in contact, the 14-day isolation period starts at the end of the symptomatic individual’s 10-day isolation period, for a total of 24 days isolation for the household contact.

Previously Cleared Cases

As the pandemic progresses, we are seeing more people who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 and cleared the infection either be exposed to the infection again or develop symptoms compatible with COVID-19. Previously cleared individuals must continue to follow public health recommendations after a high-risk exposure or the onset of symptoms.

  • Individuals who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 and have recovered must isolate for 14 days following a high-risk exposure.
  • Individuals who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 and have recovered must isolate if they develop new symptoms compatible with COVID-19.
    • Individuals with symptoms must isolate for 10 days from symptom onset or until a negative COVID-19 test result is received.
  • COVID-19 testing should be considered for individuals who previously tested positive for COVID-19 and cleared the infection if they develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 that are not due to pre-existing medical conditions.

COVID-19 Variants of Concern (VOC) in the School and Daycare Setting: Adjustment to process

When VOCs were first seen in schools in Ottawa, OPH acted in an abundance of precaution and required more extensive testing of high-risk contacts. To date, we have found no significant increase in transmission within the school setting after someone tests positive for a VOC, compared to a non-VOC.

  • High-risk contacts of an individual who tested positive for a VOC are no longer required to receive a negative COVID-19 test result before returning to school at the end of the 14-day isolation period. High-risk contacts of a VOC can return to school once they have completed their 14-day isolation period, even if they do not have a confirmed negative test result.
  • Testing is still strongly recommended for all high-risk contacts of individuals testing positive for COVID-19, including both VOC and non-VOC exposures. Testing should be completed on or after day 7 following last day of exposure.
  • All individuals should be tested immediately if they have any symptom(s).


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