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Ontario is changing its COVID-19 symptom screening guidance for the province's schools and child care centres.

The province is now asking parents to keep their children home from school for 24 hours if they have either a runny nose or headache.

If a child has both of those symptoms they are asked to consult a health-care provider or have a COVID-19 test before returning to school or child care.

Previously, the government had asked that children with either single symptom stay home until they received a negative COVID-19 test or other medical diagnosis.

Ontario is also removing abdominal pain or conjunctivitis from its screening list.

Earlier this month, British Columbia removed 10 symptoms from their school screening sheet including runny nose.

Meanwhile, Ontario said it will give pay raises to personal support workers throughout the health-care system in a bid to recruit and retain them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premier Doug Ford said about 147,000 workers in long-term care, hospitals, and community care are eligible for the increase.

Personal support workers in long-term care and community care will be eligible for a $3 an hour pay increase, while personal support workers in hospitals will see a $2 an hour pay hike.

The temporary increase begins Thursday and will expire in March 2021, costing the government $461 million. Ford said he has not ruled out continuing the pay raise next year.

Advocates in the long-term care and home care sectors have said low pay has contributed to personal support worker shortages before and during the pandemic.

October 2, 2020

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