While the return to class begins on Thursday morning in certain regions of Quebec, parents will be happy to learn that children who wake up in the morning with a runny nose will still be able to go to class.
Runny nose and nasal congestion are no longer considered symptoms associated with COVID-19, according to the latest online version of the self-diagnosis tool.
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This symptom had been retained during the winter and the spring of 2021 “since there was hardly any other respiratory virus which circulated at that time”, explains the spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, Robert Maranda.
In June, however, testing centers reported that this symptom caused a lot of negative tests.
After validation with the authorities concerned, this symptom was removed from the list of those to be considered “in the context of the current wave and the Delta variant”, specifies Mr. Maranda.
The news delighted Kévin Roy, president of the Federation of Quebec Parents’ Committees (FCPQ). However, he urges Quebec and the school network to circulate the information within the ranks of parents.
“It would be good if the ministry or school service centers reminded all parents of the instructions. There are a lot of parents who don’t remember that this online tool exists, ”he says.
Other questions also remain unresolved, according to Mr. Roy. Does a young person who has received two doses of the vaccine still need to be screened for symptoms? “It remains unclear. I am convinced that at the start of the school year, there are many parents who will ask themselves questions, ”he says.
The vagueness also persists on the directives surrounding the management of outbreaks in the school network.
The national director of public health, Horacio Arruda, said Tuesday at a press briefing that classes could close if several positive cases were declared, referring in particular to four, five or six cases.
However, the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec recommends instead to withdraw the entire group at home as soon as an outbreak is noted, that is to say when two positive cases occur in the same class, regardless of whether the mask is worn or not.
However, it will be the regional public health directorate who will have the last word in the event of an outbreak. The health authorities may decide to “implement the interventions deemed necessary depending on the size and nature of the outbreak”, we can read in the INSPQ guide.
When he presents A of the following symptoms:
Sudden loss of smell without nasal congestion, with or without loss of taste
Recent cough or worsening chronic cough
Shortness of breath
Difficulty in breathing
When it presents TWO of the following symptoms:
Nausea (heartache) or vomiting
Significant loss of appetite
Generalized muscle pain (not related to physical exertion)
* These symptoms affect children 6 to 17 years old. The list is slightly different for children 5 and under. Please refer to the full version of the online self-diagnostic tool: covid19.quebec.ca.