SUDBURY -- The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is reminding the public of the Ontario Ministry of Health’s updated guidelines for self-isolation, even if you only have one symptom of COVID-19.

In a news release Tuesday, the health unit said the updates are in response to the emergence of COVID-19 variants of concern across the province.

Provincial guidelines require that symptomatic individuals isolate at home until they receive a negative COVID-19 test result, an alternative diagnosis by a health care professional or it has been 10 days since their symptom onset and they are feeling better.

"When a symptomatic individual is isolating, everyone else in the household, both adults and children, are required to stay home, even if the other members of the home do not have symptoms of COVID-19," the release said.

"If possible, it is recommended that the symptomatic individual self-isolate away from other household members. If the symptomatic individual chooses not to be tested for COVID-19, all household contacts must self-isolate for 14 days from their last contact with the individual during their isolation period."

For example, if you don't have COVID symptoms but are self-isolating with a symptomatic individual who chooses to not be tested, you will have to isolate an additional 14 days after their 10-day isolation period.

“These enhanced self-isolation requirements are a result of the increasing number of VOC cases in Ontario and we have seen a large number in our district,” Dr. Jim Chirico, medical officer of health, said in the release. “VOCs are highly contagious; therefore, tightening these isolation measures helps to reduce the impact on our hospitals and health care system.”

If you think you may have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, first self-isolate and then use Ontario's Self-Assessment Tool to see if you need to seek testing or further care.

If you need further assistance, call your health care provider or the Health Unit at 1-800-563-2808. If you have severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, you should call 911 and mention your symptoms.

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