If you have symptoms like fever, onset or worsening of a cough, difficulty breathing or sudden loss of smell without nasal congestion with or without loss of taste, you may have COVID‑19 even if you did not take the screening test. You might have other symptoms such as a sore throat, headache, aching muscles, intense fatigue or major loss of appetite and/or diarrhea. If this is the case, please obey the following instructions to avoid transmitting COVID‑19 to others.
- Do not go to school or work or to an early childhood or daycare centre or any other public place, such as a store.
- Do not go out for a walk.
- Do not take public transportation.
- 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.
- If you live with others who have no symptoms and were never sick with COVID‑19:
- If possible, remain alone in one room of the house, always the same one.
- Eat and sleep alone in that room.
- If possible, use a bathroom that is reserved only for you. Otherwise, disinfect after each use.
- Recommend to the people that live with you to watch for the onset of symptoms over the next two weeks. If they develop symptoms, they will need to follow the instructions listed in this fact sheet.
- As much as possible, avoid contact with your housemates. If this is not possible, always remain at least two metres away from them. Cover your nose and mouth whenever you are closer than two metres away.
- Air out the house and your room often by opening a window, weather permitting.
- You can go outside on your balcony or in your private yard, making sure that you are 2 meters away from any other person.
Cover your nose and mouth
If possible, wear a face covering or cover your nose and mouth with a piece of cloth or handkerchief in the following circumstances:
- 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 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.
- 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.
Do you have a pet?
- Avoid all contact with pets.
- Pets are not at risk for COVID‑19, but their fur and skin can carry the virus.
- Ideally, isolate your pet in a separate room from you or in its cage.
- If you need to take care of the pet, wash your hands before and after touching it.
- If possible, keep your pet in the house. If it needs to go outside, keep it in a fenced-in private space.
- If your pet is a dog, ask a friend to walk it on a leash while staying two metres away from people.
- People that take care of your pet should keep physical contact with it to a minimum and wash their hands before and after touching.
Watch for symptoms and take your temperature every day
- Take your temperature every day at the same time of day, and note it down.
- If you are taking fever medicine, wait at least 4 hours before taking your temperature.
These steps will prove useful if you need to see a health professional.
It most cases you will be able to treat yourself at home. See the Self-Care Guide.
- If you are worried about your health, call the 1-877-644-4545 hotline to be directed to the right resource.
- Do not go to a clinic or hospital without first telephoning to inform them that you have COVID‑19 symptoms.
- If you have severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, major shortness of breath or chest pain, call 911 before going to the emergency room and tell the agent that you have COVID‑19 symptoms.
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 with no chronic illness such as heart or respiratory disease or diabetes or in treatment for cancer.
Whenever another person is in the room with you and less than two metres away, wear a face covering or cover your nose and mouth with a handkerchief or other piece of cloth.
Before any person helps you, they must:
- Wash their hands.
- Wear a face covering or cover their nose and mouth with a piece of cloth.
- 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 face covering or piece of cloth.
- Place the face covering or piece of cloth in a closed bag and keep it out of the reach of children until it can be washed normally.
- Wash their hands again.
Laundry and housecleaning
The sick person’s sheets, towels, clothing and face coverings and cloths 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 at all times.
- Wash your hands and forearms for 20 seconds 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 with soap and water again for 20 seconds.
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 clean and disinfect their own rooms and surfaces themselves.
Call Info-Social 811
Call Info-Social 811 (24/7 Psychosocial Hotline) if you are experiencing any of the following:
- Stress or anxiety
- Lasting emotional reactions (frequent crying, irritability, etc.)
- Feelings of panic
- Ideas that never leave you alone, never cease and frighten you
- Social repercussions of COVID‑19
Psychosocial health professionals will provide support and share information and advice as needed. To help you minimize the repercussions of these kinds of reactions on your life, see the Stress, anxiety and depression associated with the coronavirus COVID‑19 disease.
COVID-19 and home self-isolation
It’s important to obey home isolation recommendations to avoid infecting others.
When is it OK to stop self-isolating at home?
In general, you need to home-isolate for 14 days after the onset of symptoms, and:
- Until you are free of fever for at least 48 hours (without taking fever medication) and
- Have no acute symptoms for at least 24 hours (this does not include cough and loss of smell, which can take a longer time to go away).
If you have been diagnosed with COVID‑19, read Instructions for people with covid-19 in home isolation.
If you are waiting for the result of a COVID‑19 test, read Instructions for people with covid‑19 symptoms who are waiting to either be tested or for a screening test result.
If you returned from a trip less than 14 days ago, also read Instructions on return home from abroad.
If you work in the health or essential services sectors, contact your employer for instructions on when to end self-isolation.
Last update: May 7, 2020