APH change COVID case, contact management to focus on most vulnerable

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Focus local case and contact management efforts on high-risk settings only

Effective immediately, Algoma Public Health (APH) will no longer provide direct counseling to individuals identified as low-risk close contacts of individuals who test positive for COVID-19, a released statement said. today.

“APH will focus on protecting those most vulnerable, focusing local case and contact management efforts on our highest risk settings only, including our hospitals and health care facilities, nursing homes long-term and retirement homes, congregate living settings, schools, daycares, and First Nations communities,” the statement read.

“Individual cases not linked to exposure in a high-risk setting will be contacted by the provincial workforce supporting case management in Ontario, and provided with guidance on testing, self-isolation and how to ‘inform their own close contacts and household members.’

The full text of the APH press release follows:

Effective today, Thursday, December 23, 2021, Algoma Public Health (APH) is implementing changes to case and contact management processes to respond to the rapid spread of COVID-19 and to redirect resources to vaccination against COVID-19. These changes are consistent with provincial changes made to respond to the Omicron variant and the surge in cases in Ontario.

Omicron is highly transmissible and has quickly become the dominant strain of COVID-19 in Ontario. APH has investigated 486 confirmed cases of COVID-19 from December 1-20, 2021 and expects this number to continue to rise.

We are ready to use a new strategy to fight this new variant and continue to protect our most vulnerable, keep our community safe, and preserve the capacity of our healthcare system.

Going forward, APH will focus on protecting those most vulnerable, focusing local case and contact management efforts on our highest-risk environments only, including our hospitals and healthcare facilities, long-term care homes and retirement homes, congregate living facilities, schools, daycare centers and First Nations communities.

Individual cases not linked to exposure in a high-risk setting will be contacted by the provincial workforce supporting case management in Ontario and provided with guidance on testing, self-isolation and how to notify their own close contacts and household members.

APH will no longer provide direct advice to all close contacts or workplace updates where there is an active case, and will instead provide detailed advice to support cases, contacts and workplaces. taking steps to help navigate this next phase of our COVID -19 response.

We are now calling on the public to help control the spread of COVID-19 in Algoma.

To support this evolving approach to case and contact management, in addition to information provided by case managers to individual cases, information for people who test positive for COVID-19, high-risk close contacts and workplaces are now available on the HPA webpageand provides step-by-step guidance on what to do if you:
• Have symptoms of COVID-19;
• Have tested positive to a rapid antigen test;
• Have tested positive in the PCR test – confirmed case of COVID-19;
• Are identified as a close contact;
• Need help isolating or accessing essential resources during isolation;
• Are linked to a high-risk environment;
• Are a business/organization that has staff who test positive or who are close contacts;
• Would like to speak with public health staff, and more.

Due to the large increase in cases expected over the next few weeks, delays in contacting the APH or provincial workforce are expected. If you are symptomatic or awaiting test results, or have received positive test results, do not wait for a call from the APH or provincial workforce to take action. Please use the guidance provided to test, self-isolate and notify any close contacts as instructed.

The goal of this approach is to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 by caring for those most at risk of transmission and preventing outbreaks and transmission to vulnerable people in high-risk settings. We also want to ensure that our local resources are prioritized to ensure that our most vulnerable are protected, that serious illnesses and deaths related to COVID-19 remain limited to Algoma, and that we preserve our health care capacity to respond. to the ongoing health needs of our community.

Further modifications to case and contact management may be required as the omicron situation evolves.

Together, by all doing our part, we will #stopthesurge and protect our community from COVID-19 and the highly transmissible Omicron variant of concern.

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