Change in the management of cases and contacts “sign of worsening of things”


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Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Public Health Medical Officer of Health Dr Piotr Oglaza said changes in case and contact management at the local and provincial levels are a sign that things are getting worse.

Last week, Public Health announced that the case and contact management system will focus on high-risk cases, and people who test positive might not hear about public health over the phone and were encouraged to contact their own contacts and self-interview. isolate.

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At a press conference on Tuesday, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore announced that the province would take similar action and that resources would be “prioritized to ensure the protection of our most vulnerable and that health care and essential facilities remain open and function effectively.

While some have interpreted these changes as a sign that the Omicron variant is less severe, Oglaza said it was in fact the opposite.

“This is (a) sign that things are getting worse and that there is an urgent need to prioritize efforts on two main lines of work, one being vaccination with the third dose to protect vulnerable (cases) and the other (is) to protect vulnerable environments and manage epidemics and their spread in these situations, ”Oglaza said during a media call on Wednesday.

According to Oglaza, the significant spread of COVID-19 and the high number of cases in the region means that contact tracing for each case produces diminishing returns and that public health resources would be better allocated to vulnerable people and settings and would increase. vaccination rates.

“Our focus on case contact management is still very much aware that there are many high risk settings that should be prioritized for case contact management, and we need to maintain capacity for those settings. Think long-term care homes, health care facilities, places of assembly with vulnerable populations – this is where we need to focus our case contact management efforts, ”he said. .

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For low-risk people who test positive, the recommendation is that they contact their contacts themselves and inform them of their risk.

“For those who verify the result and find it positive, the most at-risk contact group is really the household, and these people should self-isolate and continue testing. Other than that, it will be up to people to determine who else might be at risk and let them know, ”Oglaza explained.

As resources continue to deplete amid the Omicron variant wave, public health is examining which populations and strategies to prioritize.

“At some point we will also need to take a very careful look at limited resources and limit testing to those high-risk settings so that test turnaround time, whether due to appointment availability or the availability of lab capacity to process tests, can be preserved for long-term care, healthcare facilities, and high-risk facilities, and this is where we might see some transition in the weeks to come, ”Oglaza said.

Going forward, Oglaza explained that it’s reasonable to assume that anyone with symptoms is likely COVID-19 positive and that anyone who is sick should self-isolate whether or not they can get tested.

In the meantime, appointments for COVID-19 testing are accessible through the KFL & A Public Health website and through community partners, including participating pharmacies.


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