COVID-19: How to quarantine or isolate at home

Public health advice across Canada varies widely due to local situations, which are rapidly changing. It's important that you continue to follow the recommendations and requirements of your local public health authority, including isolation and quarantine requirements.

Quarantine or isolation can reduce the spread of COVID-19, including its variants, in your household and community. That's why it's important to follow the advice of your local public health authority about when and how to quarantine or isolate.

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Travel

If you've travelled outside of Canada recently, advice for your quarantine or isolation period may be different.

Consult:

Quarantine instructions

You can transmit COVID-19 before you start showing symptoms or without ever developing symptoms.

You may need to quarantine if you:

If you've been tested for COVID-19 and are waiting for your results, you must quarantine until:

There may be different quarantine requirements if you or any of your other household members have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Follow the instructions from your local public health authority.

How to quarantine

Quarantine means that you must:

If you're in quarantine and start to develop symptoms, you must:

Learn more about:

Isolation instructions

You need to isolate in your home or co-living setting if any of the following applies to you:

How to isolate

Isolation means that you must:

If you're isolating at home, your household members may need to quarantine after their last exposure to you. Your local public health authority will determine their length of quarantine based on a variety of factors, which may include:

Learn more about:

Reducing risk of spread in your household

Your local public health authority may advise you to quarantine or isolate somewhere other than your home or co-living setting based on a risk assessment. This way, appropriate measures can be put in place to reduce the risk of further spread.

Public health measures to follow

If you're in quarantine or isolation, you should:

Wear a respirator

If you're in quarantine or isolation, wear a respirator (like an N95 or KN95) when you:

  • have to leave your quarantine or isolation location (for example, to seek medical attention)
  • are in a shared indoor space by yourself or with others, like a:
    • hallway
    • kitchen
    • washroom
  • are in a shared outdoor space with members of your household, like a:
    • balcony
    • backyard
  • are receiving care (either direct physical care or close-range interactions)

Do not wear a respirator or mask if you have trouble breathing while wearing it.

Your caregivers and household members should also wear a respirator when:

  • providing care to you
  • in a shared space with you

This is especially important for those who:

  • are at risk of more severe disease or outcomes from COVID-19
  • live in an overcrowded setting

If a respirator is unavailable in these situations, wear a well-fitting medical mask. If neither are available, properly wear a well-constructed and well-fitting non-medical mask.

Children

Children under the age of 2 years should not wear masks. Children 2 to 5 years old may be able to wear a mask if they:

  • are supervised
  • can tolerate it
  • know how to put it on and take it off

Children older than 5 years should wear a mask in the same situations or settings as adults.

Learn more about:

Actions to avoid

If you're in quarantine or isolation, you should avoid:

  • in-person interactions with household members, including being in the same room
  • activities that require being physically close to other household members, such as shared meals, family games and watching television
  • sleeping in the same room with household members, but if this isn't possible:
    • make sure the space is well ventilated
    • maximize physical distancing (for example, sleep in separate beds positioned head to toe)
  • sharing a washroom with household members, but if this isn't possible:
    • follow all public health measures when in a shared space
    • put the toilet lid down before flushing to limit spread
  • sharing private outdoor space with your household members
  • contact with people who are at risk of more severe disease or outcomes

Do not:

  • visit public areas
  • go to work or school
  • visit friends or family
  • have guests over to your home
  • leave your home or co-living setting unless you need medical care

Do not share personal items, such as:

  • masks
  • towels
  • utensils
  • bed linen
  • toothbrushes
  • food and drink
  • electronic devices

If you're staying in a hotel for your quarantine or isolation, avoid shared public spaces, such as:

  • gyms
  • pools
  • lobbies
  • courtyards
  • restaurants

Learn more about:

If you develop severe symptoms

Call 911 or your local emergency number if you develop severe symptoms, such as:

If you call an ambulance, tell the dispatcher that you have or may have COVID-19.

If using a private vehicle to the hospital, call ahead to let them know that that you have or may have COVID-19. Follow any directions provided.

While travelling in a private vehicle, follow strict individual public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission and:

Do not use public transportation to seek medical care unless you have no choice.

Learn more about:

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