If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should self-isolate immediately to prevent the spread of the virus.
If you present symptoms such as fever, a new or worse cough, difficulty breathing or a sudden loss of smell without nasal congestion with or without loss of taste, you may have COVID 19, even if you haven’t had a screening test.
Other symptoms might appear, such as sore throat, a headache, nasal discharge, muscle pains, unexplained intense fatigue, a significant loss of appetite, vomiting or diarrhea.
We recommend that you follow the recommendations below to avoid the transmission of COVID 19 to other people.
Other instructions are available. Be sure to consult the appropriate instructions for your situation.
Period of self-isolation
You are waiting for a test
You must self-isolate until you have received your test result and follow the instructions that apply to your result.
You have had a COVID-19 test
If you get a positive result:
Refer to the page Instructions for people with COVID-19 in home isolation.
If you get a negative result:
You may resume your usual activities if your health allows it and you are not:
- a contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19;
- awaiting a 2nd COVID-19 test;
- a traveller who has returned to Canada less than 14 days ago and you have not been exempted from quarantine.
You have not been tested for COVID-19
If you decide not to get a screening test for COVID-19, you must self-isolate at home for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms. Moreover, for your self-isolation to end, you must not have had a fever in the last 48 hours and there must have been an improvement in symptoms in the last 24 hours. Refer to the page Instructions for people with COVID-19 in home isolation.
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 health worker, you should contact your place of work for instructions on when and how to end your quarantine and return to work.
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 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.
Instructions for those living in your household
If you are not adequately protected, other occupants of your home who are also not adequately protected should self-isolate. They should follow the Instructions for people who have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
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.
How to take care of yourself
If you have severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, severe shortness of breath or chest pain, call 911 before going to emergency and inform them that you have COVID-19 symptoms.
To make the best possible decisions for your health and that of your loved ones during the COVID‑19 pandemic, consult the Self‑Care Guides. They will tell you the best ways to protect yourself from COVID‑19, take care of yourself, provide basic care to family members and friends and where and when to consult if you need care or services.
In all cases:
- Write down the date the first symptom appeared. It will be helpful if you consult a health professional. This information will help determine when preventive isolation will be over.
- If you have to go to a medical clinic or hospital, wear a mask or face covering and inform staff as soon as you arrive that have symptoms of COVID‑19.
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.
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.
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: August 5, 2021