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Working after a COVID-19 test or exposure

Posted on: December 31, 2021

​If you test positive for COVID-19:
People who are​:

  • Fully immunized ( at least seven days past a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine);
  • Asymptomatic or have mild to  moderate illness that can be managed at home;
  • Not moderately or severely immune compromised

can cease isolation once all of the following criteria are met:

  • At least 5 days have passed since onset of symptoms (or test date for asymptomatic cases); AND
  • Fever has resolved for 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medication; AND
  • Symptoms (respiratory, gastrointestinal, and systemic) have improved

Coughing may persist for several weeks, so a cough alone does not mean you need to continue to self-isolate for more than 5 days.

 If you are experiencing gastrointestinal illness (e.g. nausea, diarrhea, fever, vomiting, malaise) please stay home until you have been symptom-free for 48 hours.  While gastroenteritis symptoms may be associated with COVID-19, we must remember that there are other winter viruses to be concerned about, not least Norovirus.

If you test negative for COVID-19:

If you do not have symptoms you can return to work even if you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive to COVID-19.

If you are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms after receiving a negative COVID-19 test result you are required to stay on sick leave for five (5) days from when your symptoms began or until your signs and symptoms have resolved (i.e. whichever is sooner). If you continue to experience a residual cough, you can return to work as long as you strictly adhere to current masking and PPE guidelines throughout your shift (see Mask Policy and PPE Guidelines).

If you are experiencing gastrointestinal illness (e.g. nausea, diarrhea, fever, vomiting, malaise) please stay home until you have been symptom-free for 48 hours. This applies to all staff/medical staff who have been tested for COVID-19 and have received a negative result AND for staff/medical staff who are off work with an illness that did not meet the criteria for a COVID-19 test.

If a household member tests positive for COVID-19:

If you are not experiencing symptoms you can safely attend work using the appropriate PPE. If you have concerns, you should connect with your leader and when at work, adhere to the following precautions:

  • Wear a medical-grade/procedure mask at all times and in all areas of your workplace;
  • Self-monitor daily for signs and symptoms of illness;
  • Follow infection prevention and control protocols, including diligent hand hygiene and the use of personal protective equipment when delivering patient care;
  • Reduce close contact with other health-care workers and avoid shared spaces where possible;
  • Avoid close contact with others when travelling to and from work and between shifts; and
  • Self-isolate at home on days when not required at work.

 If you are exposed to COVID-19 at work:

When there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 at worka risk assessment is completed to determine who may have been exposed. Following the risk assessment, contact tracing of exposed employees will begin. If you are asymptomatic, you can continue to work wearing a mask and other PPE as directed and follow these additional precautions while working:

  • Self-monitor daily for signs and symptoms of illness;
  • Follow infection prevention and control protocols, including diligent hand hygiene and the use of personal protective equipment when delivering patient care;
  • Reduce close contact with other health-care workers and avoid shared spaces where possible;
  • Avoid close contact with others when travelling to and from work and between shifts; and
  • Self-isolate at home on days when not at work.

 If you are exposed to COVID-19 in the community:

If you do not have symptoms you can attend work, follow infection prevention and control protocols and self-monitor for symptoms for 10 days. 

What you need to know about compensation:

Regular employees with COVID-19 are entitled to paid sick leave per their collective agreement entitlements.

Casual employees are not eligible for paid sick leave under their collective agreements, however recent amendments to the Employment Standards Act provides employees with up to three days of paid sick leave after a COVID-19 diagnosis. This paid sick leave will be granted to casuals for scheduled casual shifts that are cancelled due to the employee's COVID-19 diagnosis.