Why isolation is important?

It only takes one person to infect many.

Isolation is about protecting others and slowing down the spread of COVID-19.

COVID-19 and the variants spread easily if given the chance. If you have been directed to isolate, it is extremely important to follow all public health guidelines and measures, including isolation. This is the most effective way of preventing the virus from spreading. 

No matter the type of isolation you are in, you should:

  • Monitor yourself for symptoms. Avoid using fever-reducing medications (e.g. acetaminophen, ibuprofen) as much as possible. These medications could mask an early symptom of COVID-19.
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Limit your contact with others
  • Avoid contact with people who are at risk of more severe disease or outcomes, including:
    • older adults
    • people of any age with chronic medical conditions
    • people of any age who are immunocompromised

In all situations, you can leave your home or isolation location to get a COVID-19 test.

When and how to isolate


  • Individuals advised by Public Health or a physician, including confirmed cases of COVID-19, MUST isolate
  • Household members of individuals who are isolating MUST isolate if they are directed to by Public Health
  • Even if you have been vaccinated you may need to isolate if you are directed to by Public Health.

How long:

  • as directed by Public Health


What to do:

  • Stay at home and monitor yourself for symptoms, even just one mild symptom.
  • Do not go to school, work, other public areas or use public transportation (e.g., buses, taxis).
  • Avoid contact with other people to help prevent transmission of the virus prior to developing symptoms or at the earliest stage of illness
  • Do not have any guests, even if you are outdoors.
  • If you are isolating in a housing unit with others, all those living with you may need to isolate, if directed to by Public Health.


Isolating due to international travel

• Anyone travelling from an international destination who is required to isolate because of federal quarantine and vaccination requirements. For more information, visit the Federal travel website: COVID-19: Travel, testing, quarantine and borders - Travel.gc.ca
• Quarantine requirements for children under 12 years of age arriving from international destination can be found here.


While individuals may have exemptions from isolation for travel, they may be directed to isolate for other reasons.

You will be directed by public health or border officials on the type of isolation required.

In isolation:

If you start to develop symptoms while isolating, you must:

  • remain isolated from others as soon as you notice your first symptom
  • immediately call Tele-Care 8-1-1 OR complete the online self-assessment form to discuss your symptoms and travel history, and follow their instructions carefully
  • if you develop urgent symptoms (i.e. difficulty breathing), call 911 or your local emergency help line and inform them that:
    • you may have COVID-19
    • are at high risk for complications

People with COVID-19 do not always recognize their early symptoms. Even if you do not have symptoms now, it is possible to transmit COVID-19 before you start showing symptoms or without ever developing symptoms.

Coping with isolation

Isolation can at times be needed to prevent the spread of a virus in a community.  Unfortunately, this can worsen feelings of loneliness or abandonment.  People placed in isolation may experience a wide range of feelings, including relief, fear, anger, sadness, irritability, guilt or confusion.  Humans are social creatures and need connection to others to thrive, which can make isolation challenging.

For suggestions that may help you through this challenging time, click here.