If you test positive for COVID-19 (via a rapid test or NAAT) or have symptoms of COVID-19 and do not have access to a rapid test, you should self-isolate and follow the instructions below to prevent spreading COVID-19 to others.
For more information on rapid tests, visit Rapid home testing.
PCR tests in testing centres are now limited to some priority groups.
Period of self-isolation
|People age 12 and over who are fully vaccinated|
5 days from the onset of symptoms or from the test date if you have no symptoms.
After 5 days of isolation, you can resume activities if symptoms improve and you have had no fever for at least 24 hours (without having taken fever medication).
For the next 5 days:
If these conditions cannot be met, continue to self-isolate for 5 more days.
|People age 12 and over who are not fully vaccinated||10 days from the onset of symptoms or from the test date if you have no symptoms.|
Children under age 12
5 days from the onset of symptoms or from the test date if the child has no symptoms.
After 5 days of isolation, do a rapid test.
However, for the next 5 days, the child must:
|Youth (21 and under) with special needs who cannot wear a mask|
5 days from the onset of symptoms or from the test date if you have no symptoms.
After 5 days of isolation, do a rapid test (if possible).
Practise 2-metre social distancing for the next 5 days (if possible).
Individuals who are immunocompromised or have been hospitalized in intensive care for COVID-19
21 days from the onset of symptoms or from the test date if you have no symptoms.
|Healthcare workers||Contact your workplace for instructions on lifting isolation measures and returning to work.|
Once the isolation period has ended, you may return to work. You must then comply with CNESST rules (in French only) .
No document (e.g., certificate) or procedure should be required after a period of isolation. Once isolation is over, you can resume your activities if the other conditions are met.
Inform your contacts
You must inform the people with whom you were in contact during the 48-hour period prior to the onset of symptoms (or prior to the test date if you did not have symptoms) until you began to self-isolate, of the instructions to follow.
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 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 metres 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. You can also consult the page Mask types and how to choose them to find out which mask to use.
- 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.
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.
How to take care of yourself
Note the date of onset of the first symptom, it will be useful if you need to consult a healthcare professional. This information will help determine when your self-isolation will end.
In most cases, you can care for yourself at home. See the Self-Care Guides.
- If you have any questions about whether you need to consult a healthcare professional, see the document Do I need to consult if I have COVID-19? (PDF 162 Kb).
- If you must go to a medical clinic or hospital, wear a mask or face covering and inform staff on your arrival that you have COVID‑19.
- If you have severe symptoms such as diffuculty breathing, severe shortness of breath or chest pain, go to emergency or call 911 and inform them that you have COVID‑19.
- If you are feeling stress or anxiety, contact the Info‑Social 811 service (24/7 telephone psychosocial consultation service) if needed. Psychosocial intervention professionals will offer you support and share information and advice, as needed.
To help minimize the impact of such reactions in your life, see the page Stress, anxiety and depression associated with the coronavirus COVID‑19 disease.
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.
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 before washing.
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).
Last update: January 20, 2022