You may be identified as a contact of a confirmed case in various ways: through public health, your employer, your child’s school or daycare, etc.
In general, you are considered a close contact of a confirmed case when:
- you have been within less than two metres of the confirmed case;
- for at least 15 minutes.
Many factors are considered when assessing the risk that you could contract COVID-19, particularly:
- the duration of the exposure, proximity and context of contact you had with the person who has COVID-19 (ex., type of activity and if the activity took place inside or outside);
- whether a mask was worn by the person with COVID-19 and the person in contact with that person, as well as the type of mask used;
- whether the person is considered to have adequate protection against COVID-19. This is related to the immune protection of a person that has developed after receiving the vaccine or having the disease.
Evaluating all these factors will allow public health to determine whether self-isolation is required. If you have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, you must self-isolate, as a preventive measure, while waiting to receive instructions from public health.
Person who is not adequately protected against COVID-19
If you are not adequately protected against COVID-19 and have been in contact with a confirmed case, you must self-isolate at home for a period of 10 days after your last contact with the person who is positive. Self-isolation must be carried out even if you do not develop any symptoms, even if your test result is negative. A COVID-19 screening test will be requested as soon as possible (between 3-5 days after the first exposure) and 48 hours before the end of your 10 days self-isolation. You must monitor your symptoms for an additional 4 days, for a total period of 14 days.
If you develop symptoms during your self-isolation, get a screening test even if you tested negative before the onset of symptoms. See the symptom self-assessment tool for clarification on screening in this situation. While awaiting your test result, you must stay self-isolate. The same applies to the people who live with you and who are not adequately protected. If your test is positive, see the page instructions for people with COVID-19.
Person adequately protected
People adequately protected who have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 do not need to self-isolate at home. However, you must monitor your symptoms for a period of 14 days and get tested between the 3rd and 5th day after your exposure unless you have had COVID-19 within the last 6 months.
If you develop symptoms during your self-isolation, get a screening test even if you tested negative before the onset of symptoms. See the symptom self-assessment tool for clarification on screening in this situation. While awaiting your test result, people who live with you who are not adequately protected can continue their activities if they dont have symptom. If your test is positive, see the page instructions for people with COVID-19.
No document (eg certificate) or procedure should be required after a period of isolation. Once the duration of this is over, you can resume your activities, if the other conditions are met.
If you are a healthcare worker, contact your workplace to receive instructions on lifting self-isolation and returning to work.
If in doubt, call the 1-877-644-4545 hotline or read the COVID‑19 Self-Care Guide. You can also contact Info-Santé 811 (24/7 telephone consultation) if you need advice about your health (for example, when your symptoms persist).
Self-isolating means staying at home
- Do not go to school or work or to an early childhood or daycare centre or any other public place, such as a store or in public transport.
- Do not send your children to their daycare and communicate this information to the appropriate person.
- Do not go out for a walk.
- If you have no one that can help you by picking up your groceries and medications, have your supermarket and pharmacy orders delivered and stay at least two metres away from the delivery person.
- Allow no visitors in your home.
- You can go outside on your balcony or in your private yard, making sure that you are 2 meters away from any other person.
- If you live with others who do not have COVID‑19, avoid contact with them :
- Keep a distance of at least 2 metres between yourself and others. Cover your nose and mouth if you need to be closer than 2 metres from someone.
- Remain alone in one room of the house as often as possible.
- If possible, eat and sleep alone in a single room of the home.
- If possible, use a bathroom reserved for you alone. Otherwise, disinfect after each use.
- Air out the house and your room often by opening a window, weather permitting.
Cover your nose and mouth
If possible, wear a mask or a face covering over your nose and mouth:
- Whenever another person is in the same room as you and less than two metres away.
- Whenever you go out for medical reasons.
To learn how to make and use your own face covering, look at the Wearing a mask or a face covering in public settings in the context of the COVID‑19 pandemic page.
Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
- Use a paper facial tissue when you cough, sneeze or blow your nose.
- Throw the tissue away in the trash as soon as possible then wash your hands thoroughly.
- If no paper tissues are available, cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow.
Wash your hands often
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap is not available and rub your hands together until they are dry.
- Also wash your hands when they are visibly dirty, before eating and after using the toilet.
- Close the toilet bowl lid before flushing and be sure to wash your hands.
Do not share personal items
Do not share dishes, utensils, glasses, towels, sheets and/or clothes with anyone else.
Watch for symptoms and take your temperature every day
- Take your temperature every day at the same time of day, and note it down.These steps will prove useful if you need to see a health professional.
- If you are taking fever medicine, wait at least 4 hours before taking your temperature.
If you need help with your daily tasks
If you need help with your daily tasks like eating, going to the toilet and getting around the house, ideally, your helper will always be the same person, who should be less than 70 years of age, in good health and have no chronic heart or lung or kidney disease, diabetes, major obesity (BMI > 40), weakened immune system or be in treatment for cancer. Ideally, this person should also be adequately protected.
You should always wear a mask or face covering over your nose and mouth whenever someone else is in the same room and less than 2 metres away.
Before any person helps you, they must:
- Wash their hands.
- Wear a mask or face covering or cover their nose and mouth.
- Wear disposable gloves.
After helping you, they must:
- Remove their gloves and dispose of them in a closed container out of reach of children.
- Wash their hands.
- Remove the mask or the face covering.
- Place the face covering in a closed bag and keep it out of the reach of children until it can be washed normally.
- Disposable masks should always be placed in a closed garbage bag or can.
- Wash their hands again.
If none of your loved ones can help you, call 211 or ask your CLSC to connect you with their home care and services resource. When making the request, inform staff that you have COVID-19.
If a parent or caregiver is required to assist a young child with daily activities
If you need to assist a young child with daily activities (for example, helping them eat, to go to the bathroom, to move around the house, etc.), ideally, the same person should always care for the child. This person should be under the age of 70, be in good health, not be under treatment for cancer, and not have a chronic illness such as heart or respiratory disease, kidney failure, diabetes, severe obesity (BMI > 40), or a weakened immune system. Ideally, this person should also be adequately protected.
When a person is in the same room as the child and within 2 metres, the child must wear a mask or face covering that covers the nose and mouth. If this is not possible (e.g., young child), the caregiver must wear a mask or face covering and practise hand hygiene. During meals, it is suggested that the child eat alone, if possible, or stay at least 2 metres away from other family members during the entire meal. If this is not possible (e.g., young child), the caregiver must wear a mask or face covering and practise hand hygiene.
Ideally, the caregiver should wash their hands before and after caring for the child.
After helping the child, the caregiver must:
- If necessary, remove their mask or face covering.
- Place the face covering in a closed bag out of the reach of children until it is routinely washed.
- If a disposable mask is used, place it in a closed garbage can.
- Wash their hands again.
Laundry and housecleaning
The sick person’s sheets, towels, clothing and face coverings used to cover the nose and mouth can usually be washed with other household laundry. However, they should be washed separately if soiled with vomit, etc.
- Wash with hot water.
- Wear disposable gloves to avoid direct contact between your skin and clothes and the sick person’s clothing, sheets and towels.
- Do not shake out dirty laundry.
The sick person’s utensils and dishes can be washed with your usual liquid detergent or in the dishwasher.
The sick person’s trash can be bagged and thrown out with the other household trash. Firmly close the lid of the garbage pail or close the bag tightly.
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water:
- After contact with the sick person or objects and surfaces touched by them like a bedside table, dishes, etc.
- Before and after preparing food, before eating, after using the toilet and whenever your hands are visibly dirty.
- if you have no access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based disinfectant.
Clean and disinfect the following at least once a day:
- Objects and surfaces frequently touched by the sick person, such as door handles, a bedside table, other furniture in the room and the bed frame.
- The bathroom and toilet.
If a surface is clean, apply the disinfectant.
If not, first wash with soap and water to remove all dirt and grime, rinse with clean water and dry with a clean cloth before applying the disinfectant.
Leave the disinfectant to act for a few minutes (follow the instructions on the label) then wipe off completely with a clean cloth.
Special cleaning instructions:
- Wear impermeable gloves when cleaning.
- Wash your hands and forearms before putting on the gloves and after removing them.
- Wash the gloves with detergent and water then let them dry before re-use, or replace them with a new pair as you see fit.
- Wash your hands again.
Cleaning and disinfecting products
Use soap and water or household cleaners. Use your regular disinfectant or a mix of 1 part domestic bleach to 9 parts cold water (e.g., 1 cup bleach mixed with 9 cups water).
If possible, have the sick person clean and disinfect their own rooms and surfaces themselves.
Avoid all contact with pets
There is nothing to suggest that pets play a significant role in spreading COVID‑19. However, several cases of transmission between animals and humans have been seen. It is also true that pets exposed to the virus are comparable to potentially contaminated surfaces.
- Abide by public health recommendations for humans with respect to pets.
- If possible, ask another person in the home to care for your pets. If this is not possible, carefully wash your hands before and after you touch your pets and cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
- If possible, keep your pets indoors. If you let them out, use a leash or keep in them in a private fenced-in yard.
- Tell people that care for your pets to limit physical contact, wash their hands before and after touching them and implement the usual preventive measure for animal diseases that can be transmitted to humans (in French only).
More information is available at the Quebec.ca Q&A for pet owners and custodians.
Last update: September 9, 2021