Symptoms that are related to some other condition, for instance, don’t necessarily count.
If a student has a runny nose that is probably allergies, extreme fatigue that might be depression or a cough that seems like asthma, they don’t have to check off those symptoms when using the tool.
Most children and youth with COVID-19 have no symptoms at all or only mild ones.
“Predominant symptoms have included fever and cough in more than half the cases, followed by runny nose/nasal congestion, myalgia/fatigue and sore throat in 10–20 per cent of cases and gastrointestinal symptoms and headache in fewer than 10 per cent of cases,” says the report.
The self-screening test was stricter when schools opened in September. Any one symptom triggered a trip for a COVID-19 test, leading to hours-long lineups at overwhelmed assessment centres and days of waiting for appointments and results.
There is now a renewed debate over whether screening should be tightened again. The benefits of stricter screening in keeping COVID-19 out of schools have to be weighed against the disruption to kids and their families.
In Renfrew County, for instance, which is currently in the “green” zone under the province’s colour-coded pandemic response guide, the public health unit does not support stricter screening.
“In Renfrew County and District we sent over 600 kids and staff home to identify only seven additional (COVID-19) cases.”
There is also the logistical challenge of whether testing centres could meet the increased demand if screening is tightened.
Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams has said he doesn’t want a return to the September testing logjams, which he describes as “very frustrating” for parents.
Who has to stay home and when
Anyone who fails the self-screening quiz must stay home and should get a COVID-19 test, says OPH.
Everyone in their household is also expected to self-isolate at home until the person with symptoms has a negative test result.
The rules are less clear in the case of people who do not have symptoms themselves but have been ordered to self-isolate because they have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. Close contacts must self-isolate for 14 days.
But do their asymptomatic household members have to self-isolate too?
The province says yes. Ottawa Public Health says no.
“The rest of the family do not need to be in isolation and do not need to be tested,” says OPH. As long as they have no symptoms, for instance, siblings can go to school and parents can go to work.
Ontario, in contrast, issued new guidelines in late January as part of its six-point plan to fight the spread of virus variants. “Households of all contacts and symptomatic individuals will be asked to stay home until the contact has received a negative test,” said the Ministry of Health in a statement.
This content was originally published here.