Changes to Quarantine Requirements for Vaccinated Close Contacts

The Ministry of Health advises that effective immediately, mandatory quarantine will no longer be required for contacts of a positive case if persons are not experiencing COVID symptoms and your last vaccine dose (2nd dose or booster dose) was received within the last 6 months. However, it is strongly recommended that daily antigen tests be taken for self-monitoring during the seven days after close contact, especially if you will be entering a workplace setting or place where you will be in contact with others outside of your household.

Minister of Health, Kim Wilson, JP, MP, said, “To reduce the high workload and pressure on the case management team, we have decided not to delay this policy change. On Thursday, we announced that this change would come into effect on January 20, 2022. Effecting this change immediately is vital to reduce staffing pressures in the public and private sector as we progress towards living with the coronavirus.

“If you are a close contact, having had your 2nd or 3rd dose within the last 6 months, and are not experiencing COVID symptoms you do not have to quarantine, but you must follow all public health guidance with regards to mask-wearing and exercise caution.

If you have received a letter that states you must quarantine, but you have received your 2nd or 3rd dose within the last 6 months and you are not experiencing any COVID symptoms, you are released from quarantine, and your 7 days of monitoring will start on the date that you were directed to commence quarantine.

For example, if you were directed to quarantine starting on January 10, 2020, your 7 day monitoring period will end on January 17, and you will not be required to attend a PCR test on Day 10. The Ministry of Health will not be issuing new letters to those vaccinated or boosted persons to whom this new policy applies.

“We rely on these persons and local employers to follow the guidance as the whole community must take responsibility and do the right thing as individual actions affect everyone around us. Our children, parents, friends and colleagues may become infected if we do not follow public health guidance to reduce the spread of this virus.”

Minister Wilson concluded, “Each of us has a vital role to play in protecting our community and our hospital. As I said earlier, everyone should follow public health guidance – avoid closed spaces, crowded places and close contact settings. Wear a mask indoors, and outdoors if you cannot physically distance, practice good hand hygiene, maintain physical distance, and download the WeHealth Bermuda app.”

Changes to the testing requirements for travellers and the isolation requirements for those who have tested positive for the coronavirus that were announced on Thursday will still come into effect on January 20, 2022.

As a reminder, the COVID-19 symptoms are: fever (100.4◦F) or chills; cough; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; fatigue; muscle or body aches; headache; new loss of taste or smell; sore throat; congestion or runny nose; nausea or vomiting; diarrhoea; sudden confusion or brain fog.

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