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Asymptomatic Ontario hospital workers exposed to COVID need not isolate if they test negative

Click to play video: 'Experts weigh options to keep Ontario healthcare staff on shift despite surging Omicron variant' Experts weigh options to keep Ontario healthcare staff on shift despite surging Omicron variant
WATCH: With COVID-19 cases surging in the community, the question may soon become: will that same surge be felt in hospitals? As Caryn Lieberman reports, if that happens, Ontario health experts have suggestions for ways to maintain staffing levels – Dec 22, 2021

The Ontario government says hospital workers who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 need not stay home from work, so long as they continue to test negative for the virus daily.

The province has made the recommendation in an effort to safeguard hospital staffing levels as COVID-19 cases surge due to the highly contagious Omicron variant.

A spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott says hospital workers who have been in contact with a positive case must take a PCR test as soon as possible, and repeat the test on Day 7.

Read more: Ontario lab staff working ‘beyond humanly possible’ to process COVID tests amid Omicron surge

They must also take rapid antigen tests daily for 10 days, and can only come into work if they remain asymptomatic and if all tests come back negative.

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Alexandra Hilkene says those with a household member who tests positive for the virus must immediately take a PCR test, and repeat it on days 7 and 14 or 15.

They also have to take a rapid test daily while exposure to the COVID-positive household member is ongoing, and for 10 days afterwards.

The government says any hospital worker who develops COVID-19 symptoms should isolate at home until they get a negative PCR test result and their symptoms are improving.

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