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Please note: In response to high case levels, the Ministry of Health has shifted to a surge model for case and contact management with the focus on protecting the most vulnerable.  The Windsor Essex County Health Unit will only be following up with COVID-19 cases associated with high-risk settings (e.g. hospitals, long-term care). All other cases and close contacts should refer to this page for the most up-to-date guidance.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, are awaiting test results, have a confirmed positive test, or are a close contact, you are required to self-isolate as per the guidance below.

For medical or health advice, contact your health care provider or Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000. If you are having difficulty breathing or experiencing severe symptoms, call 911 immediately.



Testing & Results

A single negative result on a rapid antigen test cannot rule out infection by COVID-19. If you have symptoms, you should conduct a second test 24-48 hours later, if available. If both tests are negative, you most likely do not have COVID-19. Continue to self-monitor for symptoms on a daily basis.

If eligible, individuals should get a PCR test when they are symptomatic or have been exposed and meet the criteria outlined below.

Who is Eligible for PCR Testing?

To ensure availability of resources for high-risk settings, publicly funded PCR testing is now available only to individuals who meet at least one of the criteria below:

If you have at least one COVID-19 symptom and are:

  • A patient in an emergency department, at the discretion of the treating clinician
  • A patient-facing health care worker
  • A staff member, volunteer, resident, inpatient, essential care provider, or visitor in a highest risk setting (i.e. hospital or congregate living setting)
  • Household members of workers in highest risk settings
  • Temporary Foreign Workers in congregate living settings
  • An outpatient being considered for COVID-19 treatment (including immunocompromised individuals and not fully vaccinated individuals at highest risk of severe disease)
  • Pregnant people
  • People who are underhoused or homeless
  • First responders (police, fire, and paramedics)
  • An elementary or secondary student or education staff who has received a PCR self-collection kit, if available through your school

If you do not have symptoms and:

  • Are from a First Nation, Inuit, or Métis community, or are travelling into these communities for work
  • Are being admitted or transferred to/from a hospital or congregate living setting
  • Close contacts and people in the context of a confirmed or suspected outbreak in a high-risk setting
  • Individuals and one accompanying caregiver, with written prior approval for out-of-country medical services from the General Manager of OHIP
  • Are in a hospital, long-term care home, retirement home, or other congregate living setting, as directed by public health units, provincial guidance, or other directives

Some additional populations may be eligible for PCR testing under certain circumstances, including:

  • Individuals scheduled for surgery requiring general anaesthetic
  • Newborns born to people with confirmed COVID-19 at the time of birth
  • People with cancer
  • Patients booked for hematopoietic cell therapy
  • Hemodialysis patients
  • For complete details on eligibility for specific populations, see the Ministry of Health Guidance Document.

If you are not eligible for a PCR test but have symptoms of COVID-19, assume that you have the virus and isolate with your household. See the “Individuals with Symptoms” section below for details.

Rapid Antigen Tests

If your rapid antigen test returns a positive result, you do NOT need a PCR test to confirm the result. You have tested positive for COVID-19; please go to the “Tested Positive” section below and follow the appropriate instructions. You do not need to report this result to WECHU, unless otherwise directed.

A single negative result on a rapid antigen test cannot rule out infection by COVID-19. If you have symptoms, you should conduct a second test 24-48 hours later, if available. If both tests are negative, you most likely do not have COVID-19. Continue to self-monitor for symptoms on a daily basis.

An individual with a previous, confirmed infection of COVID-19 may resume asymptomatic screening testing after 30 days from their COVID-19 infection. If there is uncertainty about the validity of the COVID-19 infection, they may resume asymptomatic screening testing immediately.

If an asymptomatic person without a known exposure to a COVID-19 case decides to complete a rapid antigen test (RAT) outside of routine screening (i.e., prior to a social event or gathering), they should complete it as close to the event as possible and understand important limitations to a negative RAT result

Positive Result

If your rapid antigen test (RAT) returns a positive result, you do NOT need a PCR test to confirm the result. You have tested positive for COVID-19; please go to the “Tested Positive” section below and follow the appropriate instructions. You do not need to report this result to WECHU, unless otherwise directed.

An individual with a previous, confirmed infection of COVID-19 may resume asymptomatic screening testing (routine testing) after 30 days from their COVID-19 infection. If there is uncertainty about the validity of the COVID-19 infection, they may resume asymptomatic screening testing immediately.

Negative Result

A single negative result on a rapid antigen test cannot rule out infection by COVID-19. If you have symptoms, you should conduct a second test 24-48 hours later, if available. If both tests are negative, you most likely do not have COVID-19. Continue to self-monitor for symptoms on a daily basis.

Limitations to RATs

If an asymptomatic person without a known exposure to a COVID-19 case decides to complete a rapid antigen test outside of routine screening (i.e., prior to a social event or gathering), they should complete it as close to the event as possible and understand important limitations of a negative RAT result.

Such limitations include:
  • Low sensitivity for COVID-19 in people who are asymptomatic
  • Lower positive predictive value when used for individuals without a known exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19
  • People infected with COVID-19 may test negative for several days before testing positive on a RAT. The RAT may represent a false negative.
  • Those with a negative one-off RAT should still follow all public health measures

Learn where and when to get tested.

Still unsure if you need to get tested? Complete the online self-assessment to determine whether you need to get tested. For students and children, complete the COVID-19 school and child care screening.

Local COVID-19 Testing Locations

Hours of operation may be subject to change. Please contact the testing location or visit their website in advance.

Windsor Regional Hospital Ouellette Campus (WRH) COVID-19 Assessment Centre - Ouellette Campus
& Met Campus (Paediatric Urgent Medical Assessment Clinic)

For booking and testing information, including locations and hours of operation, visit the WRH website.


Erie Shores HealthCare (ESHC) COVID-19 Assessment Centre

For booking and testing information, including location and hours of operation, visit the ESHC website.


Erie Shores HealthCare (ESHC) Paediatric COVID-19 Clinic

The ESHC Paediatric COVID-19 Clinic is open for urgent medical assessments and COVID-19 testing of children 17 years of age and under based on potential COVID-19 symptoms. Individuals are encouraged to book an appointment ahead of time online however; walk-ins are available Tuesday – Thursday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.


Medical Laboratories of Windsor COVID-19 Assessment Centres - LaSalle, Windsor, Tecumseh & Leamington Locations

For booking and testing information, including locations and hours of operation, visit Medical Laboratories of Windsor website.


Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre (SOAHAC)

The SOAHAC is offering COVID-19 screening and testing by appointment only to First Nation, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) community members in Windsor. You do not need to be a SOAHAC client to be tested.

Schedule an appointment by calling 519-916-1755.

Location:

1405 Tecumseh Road West, Windsor

For more information, visit the SOAHAC website.


Pharmacy Testing

Free COVID-19 Testing is available at participating pharmacies for individuals who fit the testing criteria. To see if you are eligible for Pharmacy Testing and to find a pharmacy near you, visit Ontario’s COVID-19 test and testing location information.

Check your results online. If you cannot access your test results online, contact the testing location or your health care provider.


Tested Positive

Positive results on a Rapid Antigen Test no longer require PCR Test for confirmation. Please follow the instructions below If your Rapid Test returns a positive result or you have received a positive PCR test result.

Please note that due to a high volume of cases, you may not be contacted during your contagious period by WECHU. In the event that your isolation period has ended and your symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours, it is acceptable to end your isolation prior to being contacted by the WECHU.

The WECHU does not provide written clearance for employees or employers, or travel purposes related to COVID-19 testing or isolation periods. If you require a written proof of your test result, please contact the assessment centre that administered your test.

For medical or health advice, contact your health care provider or Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000. If you are having difficulty breathing or experiencing severe symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.

  1. Self-isolate immediately for 5 days from the day your symptoms started or the day you got tested (if asymptomatic). Household contacts are also required to isolate for 5 days.
  2.  Notify your close contacts immediately. Encourage them to visit this webpage and review the appropriate section for further instructions. 
  3.  After 5 days, if you have no symptoms or your symptoms have been improving for 24 hours (48 hours if gastrointestinal symptoms), you can stop isolating.
  1. Self-isolate immediately for 10 days from the day your symptoms started or the day you got tested (if asymptomatic). Household contacts are also required to isolate for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status.
  2. Notify your close contacts immediately. Encourage them to visit this webpage and review the appropriate section for further instructions.  
  3. After 10 days, if you have no symptoms or your symptoms have been improving for 24 hours (48 hours if gastrointestinal symptoms), you can stop isolating.
  1. Self-isolate immediately for 20 days from the day your symptoms started or the day you got tested (if asymptomatic). Household contacts are also required to isolate for 20 days, regardless of their vaccination or health status.
  2. Notify your close contacts immediately. Encourage them to visit this webpage and review the appropriate section for further instructions. 
  3. 3. After 20 days, if you have no symptoms or your symptoms have been improving for 24 hours (48 hours if gastrointestinal symptoms), you can stop isolating.

*Severe illness includes requiring ICU level care for COVID-19 illness.
*Severely immunocompromised includes cancer chemotherapy, untreated HIV infection, combined primary immunodeficiency disorder, and taking some immune suppressive medications. For details, talk to your health care provider or visit the Ministry Guidance Document.

  1. Regardless of whether or not you have symptoms, you are required to notify all close contacts, including members of your household  and people outside of your household. Close contacts include anyone that you have had contact with:
    • 48 hours before you developed symptoms or were tested; AND
    • Were in close proximity for at least 15 minutes or for multiple periods of time without appropriate measures (i.e. masking, distancing, PPE, etc.)
  2. Advise your close contacts to check this webpage or the Ministry’s webpage for guidance and next steps.
  3. Encourage your close contacts to complete the online self-assessment for next steps. For students and children, complete the COVID-19 school and child care screening.

Individuals with Symptoms

For medical or health advice, contact your health care provider or Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000. If you are having difficulty breathing or experiencing severe symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.

You are considered to have symptoms of COVID-19, if you have any of the following:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Decreased or loss of taste or smell
  • Two or more of:
    • Runny nose or nasal congestion
    • Headache
    • Extreme fatigue
    • Sore throat
    • Muscle aches or joint pain
    • Gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g. vomiting or diarrhea)

If you do not feel well, but do not have symptoms the list above, you should isolate until your symptoms have improved for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if the symptoms affect the digestive system). Your household members and other contacts do not need to self-isolate, unless they have symptoms.

Still unsure what your next steps are? Complete the online self-assessment to determine whether you need to self-isolate. For students and children, complete the COVID-19 school and child care screening.

  1. Assume that you may have the COVID-19 virus and may be contagious
  2. Self-isolate immediately for 5 days. Household members must also self-isolate for 5 days, regardless of their vaccination status.
  3. Inform your close contacts of their potential exposure to COVID-19.
  4. After 5 days, if you do not have symptoms or your symptoms have been improving for 24 hours (48 hours if gastrointestinal symptoms), you can stop isolating.
  5. For 10 days from symptom onset, continue to wear a well-fitted mask in all public settings, and do not visit anyone who is immunocompromised or at higher risk of illness, or any highest risk settings.
  1. Assume that you may have the COVID-19 virus and may be contagious
  2. Self isolate immediately for 10 days. Household members must also isolate for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status.
  3. Inform your close contacts of their potential exposure to COVID-19.
  4. After 10 days, if you do not have symptoms or your symptoms have been improving for 24 hours (48 hours if gastrointestinal symptoms),, you can stop isolating

High Risk Settings

If you think you may have COVID-19 or were exposed to the virus, follow these steps to take care of yourself and protect others:

  1. Confirm if you need to isolate
  2. Get tested for COVID-19 if you are eligible.
  3. Inform your close contacts of their exposure

If you work or live in a high-risk healthcare setting, see the additional guidance below.

  1. Assume that you may have the COVID-19 virus and may be contagious. Notify your employer.
  2. Self-isolate immediately for 10 days from your symptoms onset or date of diagnosis.
  3. After 10 days, if you do not have symptoms or your symptoms have been improving for 24 hours (48 hours if gastrointestinal symptoms), you can stop isolating.

Workers may be able to return to work early (i.e. before the 10 day isolation is complete) during staffing shortages. For employer guidance for return to work, visit the Ministry of Health Guidance Document.

  1. Notify the high-risk/health care setting of the exposure.
  2. You should self-isolate, regardless of vaccination status.
  3. Do not go to the high-risk setting for 10 days from your exposure.
  4. If you develop ANY symptoms, you and your household must isolate for 5 days (if fully vaccinated or under 12 years old) or 10 days (if immunocompromised or not fully vaccinated).

Workers may be able to return to work early (i.e. before the 10 day isolation is complete) during staffing shortages. For employer guidance for return to work, visit the Ministry of Health Guidance Document.

  • Notify the high-risk/health care setting of the exposure.
  • Self-isolate for 10 days from symptom onset or date of diagnosis if asymptomatic, regardless of vaccination status.
  • After 10 days, if you do not have symptoms or your symptoms have been improving for 24 hours (48 hours if gastrointestinal symptoms), you can stop isolating.
  • Notify the high-risk/health care setting of the exposure.
  • Self-isolate for 10 days from the exposure, regardless of vaccination status.
  • After 10 days, if you do not have symptoms, you can stop isolating.

Some high-risk settings include:

  • Hospitals and Health Care settings (including complex continuing care facilities and acute care facilities)
  • Congregate Living settings (e.g. group homes, shelters, hospices, post-secondary dormitories, temporary foreign worker setting, correctional institutions, First Nation elder care lodges)
  • Long-term Care and Retirement Homes

Household Members of a Positive Case or Symptomatic Individual

  1. If eligible, get tested for COVID-19 immediately.
  2. Self-isolate immediately for 5 days. Even if your test is negative, you must complete the full isolation. 
  3. After 5 days, if you do not have symptoms, you can stop isolating
  4. For 10 days from symptom onset, continue to wear a well-fitted mask in all public settings and do not visit anyone who is immunocompromised or at higher risk of illness, or any highest risk settings.
  1. If eligible, get tested for COVID-19 immediately.
  2. Self-isolate immediately for 10 days. Even if your test is negative, you must complete the full isolation. 
  3. After 10 days, if you do not have symptoms, you can stop isolating

Individuals who have been previously positive (based on a positive test result) in the last 90 days may be managed as equivalent to “fully vaccinated” household members.

When possible, household members should isolate away from the case, to avoid ongoing exposure. If multiple household members test positive or have symptoms, isolate until the last symptomatic or positive person has finished their isolation period. The initial household member who was positive/symptomatic does not have to extend their self-isolation period based on other household members.  

Individuals with a high-risk exposure (i.e. household members) must report their exposure to their employer.


Close Contacts (Non-Household Members)

If you have symptoms, see the “Individuals with Symptoms” section above.

Close contacts are individuals who have a high risk of contracting COVID-19 based on their time spent (exposure) with someone who has tested positive.

You would be considered a close contact if you had contact with the ill individual:

  • Within the 48 hours prior to their symptom onset and self-isolation; AND
  • Were in close proximity (less than 2 meters) for 15 minutes or for multiple short periods of time without the appropriate measures and proper use of masking, distancing, and/or PPE

Generally, contacts in group settings are not considered close contacts due to the health and safety measures in place. However, specific individuals may be identified by the case as close contacts based on prolonged, unprotected, close interactions with the case.

Individuals who have been previously positive (based on a positive test result) within the past 90 days may be managed as equivalent as “fully vaccinated” high-risk contacts.

  1. Self-monitor for symptoms for 10 days from your last exposure with the positive individual. You must self-isolate if you develop symptoms (see “Individuals with Symptoms” section above).
  2. Notify your employer and follow any work restrictions.
  3. Wear a mask, practice physical distancing, and follow all other public health measures when leaving home.
  4. Do not visit any high-risk setting or people who may be at higher risk of illness (e.g. seniors) for at least 10 days after your last exposure.

Individuals who have been previously positive (based on a positive test result) in the last 90 days may be managed as equivalent to "fully vaccinated" close contacts.

Please note that direction related to isolation/testing for school dismissals may differ and will be provided at the direction of the health unit.

  1. If you are eligible for testing, get tested.
  2. Self-isolate immediately for 10 days, (or 5 days if under 12 years old), regardless of your vaccination status. Even if you complete a test and it is negative, you must complete the full isolation.
  3. If you do develop symptoms, see the “Individuals with Symptoms” section above.

Individuals who have been previously positive (based on a positive test result) in the last 90 days may be managed as equivalent to “fully vaccinated” close contacts.

Individuals with a high-risk exposure (i.e. close contacts) must report their exposure to their employer. Please note that employers may have their own protocols in place for those who are fully vaccinated that extend beyond Public Health recommendations.


Self-Isolation & Self-Monitoring

In Ontario, an individual is considered fully vaccinated if they have received:

  • The full series of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by Health Canada*, or any combination of such vaccines,
  • One or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada, followed by one dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine authorized by Health Canada, or
  • Three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada; and
  • They received their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days ago.

*The COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized by Health Canada are Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson)

Learn more about being Fully Vaccinated.

You must isolate if you have:

  • Symptoms of COVID-19; and/or
  • Tested positive for COVID-19
  • You may need to also isolate if you were exposed to someone who has COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19

Learn how to self-monitor by visiting Public Health Ontario’s instructions on How to Self-Monitor.

Instructions on how to self-monitor are also available in:

FrenchArabic  | Bengali  | Simplified Chinese  | Traditional Chinese  | Eastern Ojibwe  | Farsi  | German  | Greek  | Gujarati  | Hindi  | Italian  | Japanese  | Korean  | Mohawk  | Oji-Cree  | Polish  | Portuguese  | Punjabi  | Romanian  | Russian  | Somali  | Spanish  | Swampy Cree  | Tagalog  | Tamil  | Ukrainian  | Urdu  | Vietnamese

Learn how to self-isolate by visiting Public Health Ontario’s instructions on How to Self-Isolate.

Instructions on how to self-isolate are also available in:

FrenchArabic  | Bengali  | Simplified Chinese  | Traditional Chinese  | Eastern Ojibwe  | Farsi  | German  | Greek  | Gujarati  | Hindi  | Italian  | Japanese  | Korean  | Mohawk  | Oji-Cree  | Polish  | Portuguese  | Punjabi  | Romanian  | Russian  | Somali  | Spanish  | Swampy Cree  | Tagalog  | Tamil  | Ukrainian  | Urdu  | Vietnamese 

Additional Resources:

Ontario Ministry of Health - Self-Isolation for COVID-19 Cases or Other Individuals in the Household

ASL COVID-19 Screening Tools for the hearing impaired.

If you are unsure what your next steps should be, complete the online self-assessment. For students and children, complete the COVID-19 school and child care screening.

Please note that direction related to isolation/testing for school dismissals may differ and will be provided at the direction of the health unit.

Additional guidance can be found in the Ministry of Health Guidance for Fully Immunized and Previously Positive Individuals (FR) and COVID-19 Variant of Concern Omicron (B.1.1.529): Case, Contact and Outbreak Management Interim Guidance

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Last modified: 
Tuesday, January 18, 2022 - 8:35am