Stop The Spread

Do you have COVID-19 symptoms or are concerned you may have COVID-19? Follow the steps below to find out what you need to do next to help stop the spread.

You can also use the quick reference flow chart to determine what you should do next if you have symptoms or are concerned you may have COVID-19.

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Step One: Confirm If You Need To Isolate

Isolation Requirements

You must isolate if you:

You may need to isolate if you:

You do not need to isolate, but must still monitor for symptoms and take all necessary precautions:

You can also use the  Self-Assessment Tool to find out what to do next if you have symptoms or have been exposed.

COVID-19 Symptoms

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, assume that you may have the virus and may be contagious.

Symptoms include:

  • fever or chills
  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • decreased or loss of taste or smell
  • two or more of:
    • runny nose or nasal congestion
    • headache
    • extreme fatigue
    • sore throat
    • muscle aches or joint pain
    • gastrointestinal symptoms (such as vomiting or diarrhea)

If you have these symptoms, you must isolate:

  • for at least five days if you are:
  • for at least 10 days if you are:
    • over the age of 12 and not fully vaccinated
    • immunocompromised
    • live in a highest risk setting

Your isolation period begins the day after you noticed your symptoms or the day after you took a test (if eligible) – whichever came first. The day you first noticed symptoms or took the test is considered day zero.

If you reach the end of your isolation period and have a fever or other symptoms, you must continue to isolate until your symptoms have improved for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if the symptoms affect the digestive system) and you have no fever.

If you feel sick but your symptoms are not in the list above, stay home until you feel better for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if the symptoms affect the digestive system).

If You Live With Someone Who Has Symptoms Or Has Tested Positive For COVID-19

You do not need to isolate if one of the following applies to you:

  • you have previously tested positive in the last 90 days and do not have symptoms
  • you are over 18 years old and have received a COVID-19 booster dose
  • you are under 18 years old and are fully vaccinated

Instead for 10 days after exposure:

  • self-monitor for symptoms
  • wear a mask and avoid activities where mask removal would be necessary
  • do not visit anyone who is at higher risk of illness, such as seniors, or any highest risk settings (unless you previously tested positive in past 90 days)

If you do not meet any of the criteria above, you must isolate while the person with symptoms/positive test result isolates (or for 10 days if you are immunocompromised).

If You Have Been Exposed To Someone From Another Household With Symptoms Of COVID-19 Or A Positive Test Result

You are required to:

  • self-monitor for symptoms for 10 days after your last exposure
  • wear a mask, avoid activities where mask removal is necessary (such as dining out, high contact sports) and follow all other public health measures if leaving home
  • do not visit any highest-risk settings (such as long-term care or retirement homes) or people who may be at higher risk of illness (such as seniors) for 10 days after your last exposure

If You Live, Work, Attend, Volunteer, Or Have Been Admitted In One Of The Highest-Risk Settings

You are required to:

  • tell them you’ve been exposed
  • avoid going there for 10 days from your last exposure, unless you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days and have no symptoms.

The highest-risk settings include:

  • hospitals and health care settings, including complex continuing care facilities and acute care facilities
  • congregate living settings, such as long-term care and retirement homes, First Nation elder care lodges, group homes, shelters, hospices, temporary foreign worker settings, correctional institutions and hospital schools
  • home and community care settings

To help ensure sufficient staffing levels, workers in these settings may be asked to return to work earlier than 10 days, with additional precautions such as testing. Speak with your employer for more information.

After You Finish Isolating

For five days (or 10 days if you are immunocompromised) after your isolation period ends, you must continue to wear a well-fitted mask in all public settings.

You can temporarily remove your mask for essential activities (such as when eating in shared space at school/work while still maintaining as much distancing from others as possible).

You can participate in activities where masking can be maintained throughout, but you should avoid activities where mask removal would be necessary (such as dining out).

Anyone who is exempt may return to public settings without masking, but they should:

  • avoid visiting anyone who is immunocompromised or at higher risk of illness (for example, seniors)
  • not visit or go to work in any highest risk settings

If you develop severe symptoms requiring medical attention, such as shortness of breath or chest pain, call 911 and inform them that you may have COVID-19.

Step Two: Get Tested For COVID-19 If You Are Eligible

Test Options

Publicly funded PCR or rapid point-of-care molecular testing is available to individuals that meet specific criteria. Visit our Testing page to see if you fit the molecular testing criteria.

Rapid antigen tests are available to the general public. Visit our Testing page to see where you can get free rapid antigen tests.

If you have symptoms but are not eligible for testing, or do not have access to rapid antigen tests, assume you have COVID-19 and follow the guidance outlined above.

Step Three: Inform Others Of Your Exposure

Close Contacts

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive, tell your close contacts that they have been exposed. A close contact is anyone you were less than two metres away from for at least 15 minutes, or multiple shorter lengths of time, without personal protective equipment in the 48 hours before your symptoms began or your positive test result, whichever came first. Close contacts in schools and child care should follow the school and child care-based guidance.