On Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Public Health’s Medical Officer of Health made important amendments to the Class Order under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. Effective immediately, the amendments revise and clarify self-isolation requirements and the legal obligations of those who are cases of COVID-19, KFL&A Public Health said in a statement.
“A key role of public health in controlling the spread of the virus is to identify, contact, and make sure high risk individuals are isolating as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health at KFL&A Public Health. “To reduce the severity of the second wave, it is important that our community follows all public health measures and has clarity on what they need to do to stay healthy and protect others. Stopping the spread of COVID-19 is a community effort and what we do today is critical to what we experience two to three weeks from now.”
What is a Class Order?
According to KFL&A Public Health, a class order is a legal order that enables KFL&A Public Health to enforce self-isolation requirements for a person or class of persons that it applies to. These efforts are being made to protect the local community from potential exposure to COVID-19.
Key amendments to the Class Order include:
- The categories of people to whom the Class Order applies and directions for how long they need to self-isolate have been revised for improved clarity and to reflect current knowledge.
- Emphasis on the legal requirement for individuals to remain reachable for monitoring by KFL&A Public Health and to share the names and contact information for all contacts if requested by KFL&A Public Health.
From the KFL&A Public Health website:
Dr. Kieran Moore has updated the Class Order pursuant to Section 22 of the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act, 1990 to enforce self-isolation requirements for individuals residing in or present in the KFL&A region who:
a. Are a confirmed case or probable case of COVID-19;
b. Have new symptoms (even mild symptoms) or worsening symptoms of COVID-19, have been tested for COVID-19, and are awaiting the results of their test;
c. Otherwise have reasonable grounds to believe they now have symptoms (even mild symptoms) of COVID-19, or have had such symptoms within the past 10 days;
d. Are a close contact of a person identified in section a., even if they do not themselves have any symptoms of COVID-19
UPDATE – On Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, Public Health issued the following amendment:
“Upon further consideration and based on the local epidemiological evidence household members (close contacts) are not required to self-isolate while waiting for a family or roommates’ test results. This includes parents or guardians of a person under 16 years of age,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health at KFL&A Public Health.
“We sincerely apologize for any concerns this previous recommendation has caused families. We will continue to monitor the local status of COVID-19 and communicate as required to keep our community updated and to prevent the spread of this virus.”
Individuals who are affected by the class order are required to stay at home. If you are a person described in the class order, you must remain in self-isolation:
- For 10 days from symptom onset as long as on day 10 you have no fever and your symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours, or 10 days from test date if you have had no symptoms; or
- For 20 days from symptom onset if you have or have had severe illness (i.e., requiring ICU level support) or if you have severe immune compromise as long as on day 20, you have no fever and your symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours or 20 days from your test date if you have had no symptoms.
Last week, the Province also announced additional health measures to keep people safe. According to a media release dated Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, KFL&A Public Health say many of the measures are targeted to other regions, though province-wide measures, including KFL&A region, include mandatory face coverings in all public indoor settings, such as businesses, facilities and workplaces, with limited exceptions, including corrections and developmental services.
According to the release, the Province is also pausing social circles and advising that all Ontarians allow close contact only with people living in their own household and maintain two metres physical distancing from everyone else. Individuals who live alone may consider having close contact with another household. As the situation continues to evolve and actions are taken, residents are asked to check the provincial website and KFL&A Public Health’s website regularly for updates.