EXPOSURES + OUTBREAKS
- What is an exposure?
- Exposure: Generally, if you have spent more than 15 minutes within six feet of someone who is infectious with COVID-19, you are considered to have been exposed. However, this will NOT be considered exposure if appropriate PPE is worn. Note: exposure does not mean that a transmission has occurred, it means there is a risk that a transmission occurred.
- What is an outbreak?
- Outbreak: An outbreak is called by Public Health when there is evidence of a transmission of COVID-19 from one person to another within a unit or a facility. It doesn’t matter if the transmission was between health-care workers, patients/residents or both. Only a medical health officer can declare an outbreak. They take into account information from infection control, occupational health and other available data to determine the likelihood of a transmission having occurred.
- What is enhanced surveillance?
- Enhanced surveillance: This term applies to long-term care facilities only. A facility would enact enhanced surveillance when one of its health-care workers has COVID-19 and worked at the facility within 48 hours of their symptom onset. The facility might implement testing of individual staff and residents, and also put in place pre-emptive measures, such as separation of staff and reminders around health checks, to prevent an outbreak from happening.
Note that these definitions continue to evolve based changing circumstances. They are current as of November 27, 2020.
If you need to reach PHC’s Infection Prevention and Control Team (IPAC), please call local 69357. Do not contact individual IPAC team members.