February 17, 2021

Updated COVID-19 Screening Tool for Business and Organizations (Screening Workers)

The Chief Medical Officer of Health has released Version 3 of the COVID-19 Screening Tool for Businesses and Organizations (Screening Workers).

Two notable changes.

1. Q.3 has changed from:

“In the last 14 days, has a public health unit identified you as a close contact of someone who currently has COVID-19?”, to:

“In the last 14 days, have you been identified as a “close contact” of someone who currently has COVID-19?”

As you can see, the public health unit piece is gone and close contact is now in quotes although no definition is given. We understand that Public Health Units welcomed the addition of the public health qualifier in Version 2 because it eliminated the scenario of staff making their own determination of close contact.

2. The updated guidance also provides a new requirement for workplaces:

  • Businesses and organizations must maintain a record of the date/time that workers were in the workplace and their contact information. This information may be requested by public health for contact tracing. These records should be maintained for a period of at least a month.

ORFA members may also be interested to know that the Ministry of Health has put out interim guidance on contact management to the public health units in response to the spread of new COVID variants in the community. More 

It appears high-risk close contacts requiring 14 day quarantine will now include worker-to-worker contacts regardless if workers were wearing masks unless, perhaps, they were wearing medical masks. There is also a lower threshold for community contact that again does not consider masks for the case or the contact.

Public Health units will also now be counselling asymptomatic contacts of a positive case to advise their household members to stay home as well except for essential reasons while the contact is quarantining. Up until now, other household members have been told they can carry on as usual while their family member is self-isolating and awaiting a test.

The new guidance on contacts will likely lead to more employees being off on 14 day self-isolation.