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

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

Supplies

You’ll need:

You’ll also need:

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

Advice for caregivers

Ideally, only one person should provide care to someone who is in quarantine or isolation. If possible, the caregiver should be fully vaccinated and not be at risk of more severe disease or outcomes from COVID-19. This includes older adults or those who have a chronic medical condition. This will help to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading to others in the household.

Wear a medical mask if the person you’re caring for has tested positive or has symptoms and is in isolation. The person you’re caring for should also wear a medical mask when they’re:

If unavailable, you should both properly wear a well-constructed and well-fitting non-medical mask.

Wear a non-medical mask if the person you’re caring for was potentially exposed to COVID-19 and is in quarantine. The person you’re caring for should also wear a non-medical mask when they’re:

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You don’t have to wear disposable single-use gloves.

Wear eye protection with your mask, not as a replacement. Eye protection includes:

Protect yourself and others

Physical distancing

Limit the amount of time you spend in a shared space with the person you’re caring for. Keep all interactions with the person you’re caring for brief and from as far away as possible. Some people may need you to spend more time with them depending on their: 

Avoid group activities with the person you’re caring for, like:

Use a separate room for sleeping from the person you’re caring for. If not possible, sleep in separate beds. Position yourselves head-to-toe to keep as far away from one another as possible.

Use a separate washroom from the person you’re caring for. If not possible:

Wearing a mask

If the person you’re caring for is in isolation, you and other household members should wear a medical mask or a well-constructed and well-fitting non-medical mask when in a:

Some household members may be at risk of more severe disease or outcomes from COVID-19. They should wear a medical mask when in a shared indoor or private outdoor space with the person in isolation.

Other personal preventive practices

Avoid sharing personal items with the person you’re caring for, like:

Interact with the person you’re caring for outside when possible, in a private backyard or on a balcony. Continue to follow physical distancing and relevant mask advice.

Open a window when possible to improve ventilation.

If possible, care for any pets in the home or co-living setting while the person you’re caring for is in quarantine or isolation.

Cleaning and disinfecting

We don’t know exactly how long the COVID-19 virus lives on different surfaces. Evidence suggests it can live on objects and surfaces from a few hours to days, depending on the type of surface. It’s uncertain to what extent contaminated surfaces play a role in the spread of COVID-19.

A precautious approach is recommended when there’s an ill person in the home. Frequently clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces and objects, including:

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

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

Caring for a child

You may be caring for a child who has or may have COVID-19. If so, prevent them from sharing objects with other children in the household, like:

The virus that causes COVID-19 has not been found in breastmilk. You should continue to breastfeed as it provides many health benefits to your 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.

Monitoring symptoms and seeking medical care

Watch for new or worsening symptoms in:

Call 911 or your local emergency number if the person you're caring for develops severe symptoms, such as:

The person you’re caring for may need to leave your home or co-living setting to seek medical care. Make sure you let the ambulance dispatcher and the hospital know the person you’re caring for has or may have COVID-19.

If possible, do not use public transportation to seek medical care.

Only one healthy person should drive the ill person. 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 all passengers are wearing a medical mask. If they aren’t available, wear well-constructed and well-fitting non-medical masks instead.

If the ill person is breathing well, they should also wear a 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 household members are vaccinated against COVID-19. Follow the instructions from your local public health authority.

If you start to develop symptoms:

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