Provincial MOH sets out how the province will face the Omicron virus - less testing, more isolation, and wear the masks

By Pepper Parr

December 30th, 2021



Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore took to the microphone for a media event to explain what the people of Ontario are up against with a Omicron Covid19 variant that is now at a 50% positivity rate.

Moore said the virus is within the community and that it didn’t make a lot of sense to measure what we already know.

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore

He told his audience that he expects it to take six to eight weeks for the variant to run its course and in that period of time the limited resources the province has in terms of testing material will be used to protect those most vulnerable.
There are limits to the number of testing kits available. The RAT kits should be used to test if you are ill before you head for work and not used to determine if it is safe for you to go out socially.

The province is going to rely on data from the hospitals on the number of people who arrive at the hospital and have to be hospitalized or placed in an Intensive Care Unit.

Moore has chosen to believe that Ontarians have behaved “brilliantly” “which got us through the Delta variant and he expects the population to behave the same as we deal with Omicron”.

Schools in Ontario will open on Wednesday January 5th: there are more than enough masks to ensure students can be masked if they have to be.

Moore said the medical community now knows that the at risk period for those who think they are infected is the first two days when they may not know they were infected and the three days after which is the period of time they will “shed” the virus the most.

The message was: If you feel ill – stay at home and if you don’t feel better in a few days – two or three – then head to the hospital.

He urged employers not to press employees for test results because the resources needed to do the testing are in very very short supply – adding that the supply problems are a global issue.

Moore was quite upbeat- he said everyone was going through a “knowledge transition” period and that “we are not throwing in the towel”.

Premier Doug Ford did not appear with Kieran Moore.

Moore made it very clear that we are dealing with a very dynamic and a very fluid situation that he was confident we would get through.
It is going to be a bumpy ride.

A young woman I work with was in the office kitchen putting some food in the microwave. She was maskless and said the really good news was that no one was dying from Omicron. She seemed prepared to deal with being sick for a couple of days.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health, is updating its COVID-19 testing and isolation guidelines. Key changes include the following:

Symptomatic testing will be available for high-risk individuals, and individuals who work in high-risk settings.

Individuals with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 are presumed positive and they should follow isolation and/or self-monitoring guidelines.
Testing for asymptomatic contacts of cases is generally no longer recommended, except for high-risk contacts/individuals who are part of confirmed or suspected outbreaks in high-risk settings, as recommended by public health.

Positive rapid antigen tests will no longer require PCR confirmation.

Based on the latest scientific evidence, individuals with COVID-19 should isolate for five days if they are fully vaccinated or under the age of 12, and if their symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours.

Eligible Groups for PCR Testing

Effective December 31, 2021, PCR testing will only be recommended for individuals if they belong to the following groups:

Symptomatic people who fall into one of the following groups:

Hospitalized patients
Patients in Emergency Departments, at the discretion of the treating clinician
Patient-facing health care workers
Staff, residents, essential care providers, and visitors in hospitals and congregate living settings, including long-term care, retirement homes, First Nation elder care lodges, group homes, shelters, hospices, temporary foreign worker settings, and correctional institutions
Outpatients for whom COVID-19 treatment is being considered
Underhoused or homeless
People who are from First Nation, Inuit, and Métis communities and individuals travelling into these communities for work
Symptomatic elementary and secondary students and education staff who have received a PCR self-collection kit through their school
People on admission/transfer to or from hospital or congregate living setting
High-risk contacts and asymptomatic/symptomatic people in the context of confirmed or suspected outbreaks in high-risk settings, including hospitals, long-term care, retirement homes, other congregate living settings and institutions, and other settings as directed by the local public health unit
Individuals, and one accompanying caregiver, with written prior approval for out-of-country medical services from the General Manager, OHIP
Asymptomatic testing in hospital, long-term care, retirement homes and other congregate living settings and Institutions as per provincial guidance and/or Directives

If you have symptoms of COVID-19

Individuals who are vaccinated, as well as children under 12 who have symptoms of COVID-19 will be required to isolate for five days following the onset of symptoms. These individuals can end isolation after five days if their symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours, and all public health and safety measures, such as masking and physical distancing, are followed.

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1 comment to Provincial MOH sets out how the province will face the Omicron virus – less testing, more isolation, and wear the masks

  • Penny Hersh

    I listened to Dr. Moore’s press conference today. Dr. Moore is definitely much more personable than the previous Chief Medical Officer of Health, which makes what he says seems much more credible.

    What I took away from listening to Dr. Moore was the following.

    – Ontario does not have the capability of both providing the necessary testing or the labs to process them in a timely manner.

    – The Chief Medical Officer is telling us that it is NOT necessary to be tested, but to assume that if one is sick they have the Omicron variant and to stay home- not for 10 days as 5 days will do, and to test with Rapid Tests ( which are not readily available) and to stay away from elderly or immune compromised people.

    – In effect the Chief Medical Officer feels that people are to be their own physician, to diagnosis, and cure themselves.

    – Ontario is using the senior population as its reasons for doing the above, but in reality Omicron is hitting the younger population first. The reason that retirement homes, assisted living homes etc are dealing with covid outbreaks again is probably because staff and visitors are infecting residents.

    – Ontario does not have enough Rapid Test Kits, which probably means that these residences don’t have them available for visitors or staff. All the talk about getting vaccinations, yet there seems to be either a distribution issue or vaccine availability as pharmacies continue to cancel appointments and no walk in sites are being provided in most areas.

    – Not providing true numbers of those infected with the Omicron variant gives people a false sense of security. It also shows how unprepared Ontario is in dealing with this variant more than 2 years down the road.

    I know that different provinces are handling this outbreak differently. Lockdown, no lockdown, I don’t know what is correct but certainly this laissez-faire approach should not feel right to anyone living in Ontario.

    In Quebec, which is handling this situation differently Premier Legault speaks directly to the residents.

    Where was our Premier?