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SJHH / Coronavirus/ Information for our staff physicians volunteers and learners/ HCW COVID Testing and Isolation

St. Joe's Healthcare Worker COVID-19 Testing and Isolation

We understand testing for COVID-19 and isolation can be complicated. We created the below frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help guide you to answers to any question you may have. 

FAQs

I have been exposed to someone who has tested positive to COVID-19 outside of my household. Can I work?

If you are symptomatic:
  • Call the COVID hotline – ext. 36131
  • Tell your manager
  • Get a PCR test as soon as possible
  • Stay home until you have a negative PCR test and no longer have more than one mild symptom
  • Symptoms could include: 
    • Fever and/or chills; OR
    • Cough; OR
    • Shortness of breath; OR
    • Decrease or loss of taste or smell; OR
    • runny nose/nasal congestion
    • headache
    • extreme fatigue
    • sore throat
    • muscle aches/joint pain
    • gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea/vomiting or diarrhea)
If you have no symptoms (asymptomatic), you can work, but you must follow these steps:
  • Call the COVID hotline – ext. 36131
  • Tell your manager.
  • You need to self-isolate at work for 10 days plus 5 days after last exposure, which day is later
  • You need to self-monitor for symptoms, including taking your temperature twice per day
  • You need to take a rapid antigen test daily for 10 days if constant exposure (until day 11)
  • You need to take a PCR test at the first day and day 7
  • You need to eat alone

I have been exposed to someone who has tested positive to COVID-19 inside my household. Can I work?

If you are symptomatic:
  • Call the COVID hotline – ext. 36131
  • Tell your manager
  • Get a PCR test as soon as possible
  • If positive PCR, stay home for 10 days.
  • You can return to work after 10 days
  • You can return to work with lingering symptoms, which include mild congestion, mild cough, continued use of inhalers.
  • You need to remain off work and follow-up with your treating practitioner if you have any of the following: 
    • nausea, vomiting diarrhea
    • sore throat
    • fever
    • conjunctivitis
    • continued extreme fatigue and muscle aches
If you have no symptoms (asymptomatic), you can work, but you must follow these steps:
  • Call the COVID hotline – ext. 36131
  • Tell your manager
  • You need to self-isolate at work for 10 days plus 5 days after the last exposure, whichever is later
  • Self-isolate at home/community for 5 days
  • You need to self-monitor for symptoms, including taking your temperature twice per day
  • You need to take a rapid antigen test daily for 7 days if you are isolated from the exposure at home. If constant exposure, you need to do a rapid antigen test daily for 10 days (until day 11)
  • You need to take a PCR test at the first day and day 7 
What are the common symptoms of COVID that may require self-isolation?
  • fever
  • temperature of 37.8 (or greater)
  • cough, new or worsening
  • shortness of breath
  • decrease or loss of smell or taste
  • two or more of these symptoms require immediate self-isolation: 
    • extreme fatigue
    • lethargy or malaise - unusual or unexplained
    • muscle aches or joint pain - unusual, unexplained or long lasting
    • nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
    • sore throat
    • nasal congestion
    • headache
  • other signs and symptoms that should be monitored include:
    • abdominal pain
    • conjunctivitis
    • decrease or loss of appetite
What does it mean to self-isolate at work?
  • Keep your personal protective equipment on at all times
  • Monitor your symptoms, including your temperature 2 times per day
  • Daily rapid antigen test
  • Maintain physical distancing
  • Eat by yourself (not with other people)
When can I return to work?

After 10 days (day 11), you do not require a negative PCR or Rapid Antigen Test. You can return with lingering symptoms, which is mild cough, continued use of inhalers, mild congestion. 

You need to remain off work with the following symptoms:

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • sore throat
  • fever
  • conjunctivitis
  • continued extreme fatigue and muscle aches

We advise you should follow-up with your treating practitioner.

Someone in my household is self-isolating because of contact with someone with COVID-19 . Can I work?
  • Yes, you can work
  • Monitor for symptoms for 10 days
  • Wear proper protective equipment (PPE), physical distance
  • If symptoms develop, call the COVID hotline for guidance – ext. 36131
What is low risk, medium risk and high risk?

High risk: Both COVID positive person and staff were unmasked and exposure for more than 2 minutes within 2 metres.

Medium risk: COVID positive person was unmasked but staff is masked without eye protection

Low risk: COVID positive person is masked and staff is masked

Do I need to do a rapid antigen test?
  • As directed if you’re a high, medium or low risk contact
  • If you have been with people, returning after days off, and want to make sure you're safe for your shift (asymptomatic).
  • You're feeling uneasy and want to screen for potential COVID-19 infection
I have had a positive rapid antigen test, what do I do?
  • Call the COVID hotline – ext. 36131
  • Tell your manager
  • Arrange for a PCR test as soon as possible.
  • Stay home and self-isolate
When would I require a PCR test?
  • As a healthcare worker, please get a PCR test if you are symptomatic or have a positive rapid antigen test
  • If advised through the COVID hotline or through contact tracing
Where do I get a PCR test?

Fontbonne testing centre

The HCW testing centre in the Fontbonne building at Charlton Campus (Room F134) will reopen Tuesday, December 28 and will be open Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. 

Appointments are required and can be booked by clicking here.

St. Joe’s and Hamilton Health Sciences healthcare workers who are symptomatic also have the option to:

  • Walk into the SJHH Mountain Assessment Centre on Upper James. Please bring your ID badge
  • HCWs must book an appointment at the HHS West End Clinic (690 Main Street W) or the Pop-Up Assessment Centre at Mohawk College [LINK]. HCW walk-ins are not permitted at these testing centres.

 

Where can I pick-up/drop off an oral/nasal swab?

Oral/ nasal swab pick-up & drop off - For asymptomatic high-risk exposure 

Must pick up and drop off at same location. If swabbing after-hours, please keep the swab on the unit until the next morning when the drop-off location opens.  

Pick-Up:

  • Charlton / West 5th Campus – All patient units and drop-off locations
  • King Campus – Urgent Care, Dialysis and Security

Drop-Off:

  • Charlton:
    • Day Surgery, Monday – Friday 0600 – 2100
    • Saturday/Sunday and holidays – 0700 – 1500
  • King:  
    • Urgent Care Centre 1600 – 2200
  • West 5th:  
  • Pre-op Clinic Level 0, Monday – Friday 0730 – 1530,
  • Units Waterfall 1, 2, and 3, after hours/Saturday/Sunday and holidays
I am unvaccinated and have been in contact with someone with COVID-19
  • If you are determined to be high risk or medium risk – you must self-isolate for 10 days, returning day 11 if no symptoms have developed, or be symptom free for 72 hours.
  • Low risk are able to stay at work if they remain asymptomatic, monitoring for symptoms and following Public health guidelines of PPE, physical distancing.