KENORA, Ont. — The chances are growing that many residents of Northwestern Ontario will have to self-isolate in the coming weeks as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to infect more and more households.
Health officials are now advising people to prepare for that eventuality, based on the current high percentage of positivity results from tests.
The Northwestern Health Unit says it's wise to make sure you have pain relief medication on hand such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
You should also stock up on frozen or canned fruit and vegetables, other non-perishable food items, personal hygiene products and cleaning supplies.
The newest guidelines from the Ontario government require anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to isolate for five days if fully vaccinated or under 12 years old, or 10 days if not fully vaccinated and aged 12 or older.
All members of the household must stay home while the symptomatic individual is isolating.
The health unit noted in an announcement Tuesday that PCR testing is no longer available for much of the population, so anyone with symptoms should assume they have the virus.
"Testing is not necessary for those who do not live, work or visit high-risk settings as defined by the Ministry of Health," said Dr. Kit Young Hoon, Medical Officer of Health at NWHU.
Anyone who is unsure whether their symptoms require isolation should visit www.ontario.ca/exposed for more information.