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


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

Who and how long:

Individuals who have a positive rapid POCT or a positive PCR lab-based test MUST isolate as directed:

  • 10 days if you are not fully vaccinated or immunocompromised, and 
  • 5 days if you are fully vaccinated. Once you have completed your 5-day isolation, you must mask continuously, avoid vulnerable settings and gatherings for the next 5 days.

Your isolation period starts the day you receive your positive test result.

You may stop isolating when all three of these criteria have been met:

  • You have completed your isolation period; AND
  • You have been fever-free for at least 24 hours without using fever-reducing medications; AND
  • Your symptoms are improving.

All individuals required by Public Health or a physician to isolate must do so. 


All household contacts, of individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 must isolate for:  

  • 10 days if not fully vaccinated, and 
  • 5 days if they are fully vaccinated

The isolation period starts the day your household member tested positive.

All non-household close contacts, must:

• Self monitor for symptoms for 10 days regardless of vaccination status 

If close contacts develop any symptoms, they should complete the online assessment form


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.

While in isolation

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

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.

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 -

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.

Custody Isolation

A child who is identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 case in a school, an early learning and childcare facility and is participating in the POCT program may move between households when shared custody is in place provided the child has daily negative POCT tests and remains asymptomatic.

If a positive case is present in a household or a child has COVID-19, then the child is recommended to isolate in place and the custody visit is cancelled until isolation is over. The household will follow the testing and isolation protocols based on vaccination status.

If movement must occur between the two households, during the isolation period in order to facilitate custody arrangements, the following are recommendations related to isolation and testing requirements;

  • If the child is a case and moves homes during their infectious period, the second household will also be required to follow the household isolation and testing requirements based on vaccination status.
  • If the child is a contact of a case identified in their first household, that household will be required to follow the household isolation and testing requirements based on vaccination status. If the child moves to the second household, the child will be required to isolate and continue with testing requirements in their second household and the second household will self-monitor.
  • Public Health will advise regarding isolation and testing requirement dates.


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.