COVID-19 Self-Isolation Information

Last updated: March 23, 2022

If you have questions related to COVID-19 testing and isolation guidelines, please call the Provincial Testing and Isolation Information line at 1-888-777-0730.

Antiviral treatments are now available for free by prescription to individuals with COVID-19 who are at a higher risk of severe illness and hospitalization. To determine if you might be at higher risk and should be assessed for treatment, use the Provincial COVID-19 antiviral treatment screener. Learn more at Ontario.ca/antivirals

Information on this page is changing frequently. If you have been directed to self-isolate by someone who has COVID-19, public health or a health care provider (e.g. at an assessment and/or testing centre, emergency department or family doctor's office), follow the testing and self-isolation information provided to you. 

What is self-isolation?

Self-isolation means staying home when you have symptoms of COVID-19, or if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. This helps prevent the spread of the virus to others in the community. If you have been instructed by someone who has COVID-19, public health or a health care provider to self-isolate, this means that you must separate yourself from others, including those within your home to the greatest extent possible, and that you cannot go to work, school or childcare. You should only leave your home for critical reasons, such as accessing emergency medical care or to seek COVID-19 testing (if you are eligible).

For more information on self-isolation, visit the Government of Canada website and Ontario COVID-19: Stop the Spread webpage.

See Public Health Ontario’s How to Self-Isolate fact sheet.

General self-isolation guidelines
  • Stay home:
    • Do not go to work, school or other public places.
    • Do not use public transportation, taxis or rideshares.
  • Limit the number of visitors in your home:
    • Only have essential visitors such as medical personnel or essential caregivers.
    • Keep away from seniors and people with chronic medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, lung problems, weakened immune system) 
  • Avoid contact with others:
    • Stay in a separate room away from other people in your home as much as possible and use a separate bathroom if you have one.
    • Make sure that any shared rooms have good airflow (e.g., open windows). 
  • Keep distance:
    • If you are in a room with other people, keep a distance of at least two metres from others. 
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes:
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
    • Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hand.
    • Throw used tissues in a lined wastebasket and wash your hands. Lining the wastebasket with a plastic bag makes waste disposal easier and safer.
    • Wash your hands after emptying the wastebasket. 
  • Wash your hands:
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
    • Dry your hands with a paper towel, or with your own cloth towel that no one else shares.
    • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. 
  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth if you are symptomatic:
    • Wear a mask if you must leave your house to see a health care provider.
    • Wear a mask when you are within two metres of other people. 
  • Household cleaning and disinfection
    • Clean all “high-touch” areas such as counters, toilets, sink tap handles, tabletops, doorknobs, TV remotes, phones, and bedside tables daily using regular household cleaners.
    • Clean more often if surfaces become visibly soiled.
    • Clean any surfaces that may have blood, body fluids and/or secretions on them.
    • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning surfaces.
    • Use a diluted bleach solution (2 teaspoons of bleach to 4 cups of water) or household disinfectant.
    • Dishes and eating utensils should be cleaned with dish soap and hot water after each use.
    • Use of a dishwasher with a drying cycle also provides a sufficient level of cleaning. 
  • Laundry
    • Clothing and bedclothes can be cleaned using regular laundry soap and water and do not require separation from other household laundry.
    • If clothing or bedding have blood, body fluids and/or secretions, wear disposable gloves while handling soiled items, remove gloves and wash hands immediately afterwards. 
  • Waste management
    • All waste generated can be bagged in a regular plastic bag and disposed of in regular household waste.

Isolation information

Visit Ontario.ca/exposed for further instructions if:
  • You have symptoms of COVID-19
  • You have tested positive for COVID-19 on a PCR or rapid antigen test
  • If you live with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive for the virus
  • If you’ve been exposed to someone with symptoms of COVID-19 or who has received a positive test result
  • If you've been told you are a close contact to someone who received a positive test result

Public health will continue to investigate cases associated with highest risk settings (including long-term care homes, retirement homes, hospitals, shelter or congregate settings).  

If you have travelled anywhere outside of Canada: The Government of Canada, under the Quarantine Act, requires some individuals to self-isolate, whether they have COVID-19 symptoms or not. Please refer to the latest travel restrictions and Federal Quarantine Requirements to determine if you are required to isolate.

Note: The Section 22 Class Order regarding Self-Isolation was rescinded on March 2, 2022. HPPH continues to be able to issue individual Sec. 22 orders if needed. For more information, please see our Section 22 Orders and Instructions page.

Do I need to self-isolate?

If you think you may have COVID-19 or were exposed to the virus, take the Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Self-Assessment then visit Ontario.ca/exposed for steps on what to do next. You must isolate if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive for the virus.

If you have questions related to COVID-19 testing and isolation guidelines, please call the Provincial Testing and Isolation Information line at 1-888-777-0730 (available Monday to Sunday, 8AM to 6PM). 

I am an employee at a highest risk setting (e.g. hospital, long-term care home, or other congregate living setting) and I have questions about self-isolation

If you are an employee at a highest risk setting, please see our COVID-19 Highest Risk Settings page for self-isolation guidance. 

Highest risk settings include: hospitals (including complex continuing care facilities and paramedic services) and congregate living settings, including long-term care, retirement homes, First Nation elder care lodges, group homes, shelters, hospices and correctional institutions. 

Self-monitoring

Self-monitoring means paying attention to your health every day and watching for signs of illness. While you are self-monitoring, you can leave home for essential purposes and attend work, school or childcare. If new symptoms develop, it is important to remain home and follow the instructions at Ontario.ca/exposed.

Follow these instructions on How to Self Monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.

If you are having difficulty breathing or experiencing other severe symptoms, call 911 immediately. Advise them of your symptoms, travel history, or exposure risks.

For more information: