Care at home for those who have or may have been exposed to COVID-19

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.

Advice for caregivers at home and household members of people who have or may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Supplies

You’ll need:

You’ll also need hygiene products, such as:

Read and follow manufacturer's instructions for safe use of cleaning and disinfection products.

Reach out to family, friends or neighbours if you can’t get these supplies. You can also contact your local public health authority or a community organization for advice, support and resources.

Reducing the risk of spread in the household

Physical distancing

Limit the amount of time you spend in a shared space with the person in quarantine or isolation. Keep all interactions with the person few and brief. Maximize your physical distance as much as possible. Some people may need you to spend more time with them depending on their: 

Sleep in a separate room from the person in quarantine or isolation. If not possible:

Use a separate washroom from the person in quarantine or isolation. If not possible, ensure surfaces and objects they touch are cleaned and disinfected after each use.

Wearing a respirator

Household members should wear a respirator (like an N95 or KN95) when sharing a space with the person who is in quarantine or isolation.

This is even more important for household members who are:

The person who is in quarantine or isolation should also wear a respirator when they:

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 in the household should follow mask advice for their age group (see section on Caring for a child).

Improving ventilation

Open windows and doors regularly to improve indoor ventilation.

If you have to interact with the person in quarantine or isolation, do so outside when possible, such as:

Follow physical distancing and masking advice when doing so.

Cleaning and disinfecting

Ensure all high-touch surfaces and objects in your home are cleaned and disinfected more often, especially if the person you’re caring for may have touched them.

Use approved hard-surface disinfectants that have a drug identification number (DIN) or a diluted bleach solution. Always follow instructions for proper handling of household bleach (chlorine).

Use separate no-touch plastic-lined containers, like a garbage can, for:

Other measures

Avoid sharing personal items with the person in quarantine or isolation.

Look after any household pets so that the person in quarantine or isolation doesn’t come into contact with them if possible.

Advice for caregivers

Ideally, only one person should provide care to someone who is in quarantine or isolation. If possible, the caregiver shouldn’t have risk factors that put them at risk of more severe disease or outcomes from COVID-19. This includes:

You and the person you’re caring for should both wear a respirator when:

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.

Make sure the space you’re providing care in is well ventilated.

Before and after providing care:

You don’t have to wear disposable single-use gloves.

If available, wear eye protection with your respirator or mask, not as a replacement.

Caring for a child

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

Children older than 5 should wear masks in the same situations or settings as adults.

The child you’re caring for should not share objects or toys with other children in the household.

Monitoring symptoms and seeking medical care

Watch for new or worsening symptoms in:

Call 911 or your local emergency number if anyone develops severe symptoms, such as:

Let the ambulance dispatcher and the hospital know the ill person has or may have COVID-19.

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

Keep the number of passengers in the vehicle as low as possible. The ill person should sit in the back seat of the vehicle, as far away as possible from the driver. Keep all vehicle windows fully open if possible and safe to do so.

Make sure everyone in the vehicle is wearing a respirator (or if unavailable, a well-fitting medical mask). The ill person should also wear one, unless they’re having difficulty breathing. If respirators or medical masks aren’t available, you should all properly wear a well-constructed and well-fitting non-medical mask.

Your quarantine period

You may need to quarantine and monitor yourself for symptoms:

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

If you start to develop symptoms:

For more information

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: