The Manitoba government is following the advice of public health officials and making changes to the self-isolation public health order to adapt to the prevalence of rapid antigen tests and to help address the surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the omicron variant, Health and Seniors Care Minister Audrey Gordon announced today.
“We need to ensure we take steps to protect our health-care system and other critical services during this surge of COVID-19 cases, many linked to the omicron variant,” said Gordon. “These changes will help ensure everyone who should self-isolate does, regardless of how they tested, and will reduce the strain on the health-system workforce as well as other key sectors as more workers report they have contracted COVID-19.”
The changes include:
- requiring all people who have tested positive for COVID-19 to isolate including those who completed a rapid antigen test;
- changing isolation requirements to five days from 10 days since the date of the test for fully-vaccinated people who are not showing symptoms;
- changing isolation requirements to five days from 10 days since the date symptoms started appearing or the date of the test, whichever is later, for fully-vaccinated people as long as their symptoms are improving and they do not have a fever;
- requiring individuals who have only isolated for five days due to the changes above to wear medical-grade mask while in a public setting for the five days immediately following their self-isolation; and
- requiring isolation for people who have tested positive who are not fully vaccinated for 10 days after the date of their test as long as their symptoms are improving and they do not have a fever.
The public health orders will come into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022. Public health documents and online guidance for stakeholders and the public is being updated and will be finalized in the days ahead.
Public health officials also advise that people leaving isolation must avoid any non-essential visits to high-risk settings or non-essential contact with individuals at high risk for severe disease for an additional five days.
Consistent with previous orders, the order continues to include:
- requiring close contacts who are not exempt from self-isolation requirements to self-isolate for 10 days; and
- requiring people to provide information about locations where people have been in the previous 10 days for contact tracing purposes as required.
Public health officials also ask all household close contacts who are exempt from self-isolation to be particularly cautious while the case is isolating and avoid any non-essential visits to high-risk settings or non-essential contact with individuals at high risk for severe disease.
“We have looked at data from Manitoba and other jurisdictions, and feel these changes will balance reducing the spread of COVID-19 while ensuring critical services can continue to operate,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer. “I ask all Manitobans to get immunized as soon as possible, including a third dose when eligible to reduce the number of close contacts they have, and to stay home as much as possible to reduce the risk of severe illness and reduce the spread of COVID-19.”
Roussin also reminded Manitobans to follow the fundamentals, including wearing a well-fitting mask, washing their hands frequently and covering their cough.
For more information on COVID-19 in Manitoba, visit www.manitoba.ca/covid19.