Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): How to self-isolate at home when you may have been exposed and have no symptoms
People with COVID-19 do not always recognize their early symptoms. Even though you do not have symptoms now, you need to self-isolate if in the last 14 days, you:
- travelled outside of Canada
- had close contact with someone who has or is suspected to have COVID-19
Self-isolate means that, for 14 days you need to:
- stay at home and monitor yourself for symptoms, even if mild
- avoid contact with other people to help prevent transmission of the virus at the earliest stage of illness
- do your part to prevent the spread of disease in your home and in your community, in case you develop symptoms
To self-isolate, take the following measures:
Limit contact with others
- Stay at home or the place you are staying in Canada.
- Do not go to school, work, other public areas or use public transportation (e.g., buses, taxis).
- Do not have visitors.
- Avoid contact with older adults, or those with medical conditions, who are at a higher risk of developing serious illness.
- Avoid contact with others, especially those who have not travelled or been exposed to the virus.
- If contact cannot be avoided, take the following precautions:
- keep at least 2 metres between yourself and the other person
- keep interactions brief
- stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom, if possible
Things you can do while self-isolating
While keeping a physical distance of 2 metres from others, you can:
- greet with a wave instead of a handshake, a kiss or a hug
- use food delivery services or online shopping
- ask family, a neighbor or friend to help with essential errands
- exercise at home
- go outside for some fresh air, a run, a bike ride, or to walk the dog
- host online dinners and games with family and friends
- use technology, such as video calls, to keep in touch with family and friends
- work from home
- get creative by drawing chalk art or running back yard obstacle courses and games
Keep your hands clean
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and dry with disposable paper towels or dry reusable towel, replacing it when it becomes wet.
- You can also remove dirt with a wet wipe and then use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Cough or sneeze into the bend of your arm or into a tissue.
Keep surfaces clean and avoid sharing personal items
- At least once daily, clean and disinfect surfaces that you touch often, like toilets, bedside tables, doorknobs, phones and television remotes.
- Use store-bought disinfectants to clean, following the directions on the label.
- Do not share personal items with others, such as toothbrushes, towels, bed linen, utensils or electronic devices.
Monitor yourself for symptoms
- Monitor yourself for symptoms, particularly fever and respiratory symptoms such as coughing or difficulty breathing.
- Take and record your temperature daily (or as directed by your public health authority) and avoid using fever-reducing medications (e.g. acetaminophen, ibuprofen) as much as possible. These medications could mask an early symptom of COVID-19.
- If you develop symptoms, even if mild:
- stay home
- immediately isolate yourself from others in your house
- contact your public health authority as soon as possible and follow their instructions
Supplies to have at home when self-isolating
- Disposable paper towels
- Running water
- Hand soap
- Alcohol-based sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol
- Dish soap
- Regular laundry soap
- Regular household cleaning products
- Alcohol prep wipes
- Arrange to have your groceries delivered to you
We can all do our part in preventing the spread of COVID-19.