COVID-19 Self-Isolation Information

Last updated: November 16, 2021

Roadmap to Reopen: Ontario, including Huron Perth, is currently in Step 3 of Ontario's Roadmap to Reopen. During Step 3 of the Roadmap, we must all continue to follow the public health measures, advice and restrictions that are in place. 
Information on this page may change frequently. If you have been directed to self-isolate by 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 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.

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 visitors who you must see and keep visits short.
    • 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 than 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.

Who needs to self-isolate?

You must self-isolate if:

  • You have tested positive for COVID-19
  • You have been instructed by public health or a health care provider to self-isolate  
  • You have one or more symptoms of COVID-19
    • Complete the Ontario government’s Online Assessment tool and get tested for COVID-19 at a local assessment centre. Rapid antigen testing is not appropriate for individuals with symptoms of COVID-19. You must self-isolate while waiting for your results (even if your symptoms have improved during that time). If your results are negative, you can end your self-isolation once your symptoms have been resolved for 24 hours (48 hours for gastrointestinal symptoms). If your results are positive, continue to self-isolate, and our public health team will contact you.
    • If you do not get tested for COVID-19, you must self-isolate for 10 days after your symptoms began and until your symptoms have been resolved for 24 hours, even if you are fully vaccinated.
  • Someone in your household has symptoms of COVID-19
    • If you are fully vaccinated (14 days or more since your second vaccine dose) and have no symptoms of COVID-19, you are not required to self-isolate while the symptomatic individual waits for their test results.
  • You think you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 
  • You have received a COVID-19 exposure alert on your smartphone
    • If you have received a COVID-19 exposure alert, seek testing immediately. If you are symptomatic and not fully vaccinated, you must self-isolate while awaiting test results. If you are fully vaccinated (14 days or more since your second dose) and are not experiencing symptoms, you do not need to isolate while waiting for test results. 
  • If you have travelled anywhere outside of Canada (including the United States of America), you must self-isolate for 14 days. If you are fully vaccinated (14 days or more since your second vaccine dose) you may be exempt from quarantine requirements when you return to Canada. Please see the Public Health Agency of Canada's latest instructions for fully vaccinated travelers.

If you have been told to self-isolate by public health or a health care provider, you are required by law to do so.

On February 26, 2021, the Huron Perth Medical Officer of Health issued an updated Class Order under Section 22 of Ontario’s Health Protection and Promotion Act. The Order is a legal measure that authorizes the health unit to enforce individual compliance with public health instructions. The key focus of this Order is to ensure people who have been told to self-isolate by public health or a health care provider are doing so. Those who do not comply can be given a ticket under the Reopening Ontario Act with a fine of $750 per day. Individuals could be charged and fined up to $5,000 per day under the Health Protection and Promotion Act. This Class Order came into effect at 12:01 Saturday, February 27, 2021 and replaces the Order issued on November 28, 2020.

If you have a concern about someone not self-isolating, contact Huron Perth Public Health or your local police department’s non-emergency line. If you are concerned about a person's actions, we encourage you to have a kind and respectful conversation with that person and remind them about the current recommendations for stopping the spread of COVID-19 in our community. You can direct them to our website for the latest recommendations.

Do I need to self-isolate?

The self-isolation instructions vary for each person's situation and vaccination status. If you have tested positive for COVID-19, or have been in contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, our case and contact management team will let you know how long you must self-isolate for and any additional instructions that may be required. If you have questions about self-isolating or how long you should isolate for, contact our case and contact management team by calling 1-888-221-2133.

The following scenarios may be helpful for general information purposes.

I have recently travelled outside of Canada (including the United States)

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.

I am sick and being sent for testing for COVID-19
  • Even if you are fully vaccinated, if you have symptoms of COVID-19, you must self-isolate.
  • Self-isolate until you receive a negative test result and do not have a fever (without the use of fever-reducing medications), and symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours, or 48 hours if experiencing vomiting or/and diarrhea. If you receive a positive test result, continue to self-isolate and follow the instructions provided to you by case and contact management staff. 
  • Any unvaccinated household members must also self-isolate until you receive a negative test result.
  • Follow the self-isolation instructions from the Public Health Agency of Canada: How to Isolate at Home with COVID-19
  • Follow other general self isolation guidelines

I've had close contact with a positive case of COVID-19 and am being sent for testing

  • If you are unvaccinated and have had a high-risk exposure with a positive case (as notified by public health) or you believe you have been in contact with a positive case, you must self-isolate for 10 days from the date of your exposure to the positive case, even if you receive a negative test result.
  • If you are fully vaccinated (14 days or more since your second vaccine dose) and have no symptoms of COVID-19, you are not required to self-isolate if you are identified as a close contact of a confirmed or probable case. You should report your exposure to your employer and follow any restrictions from work as specified by your manager or Occupational Health department. If at any point you become symptomatic, you must self-isolate and get tested.
  • If you develop ANY symptoms at all (even mild symptoms) while you await your results, self-isolate, take the provincial online assessment tool and follow the directions.
I am not sick but a household member is sick and is being sent for testing

If you are not sick but a household member is sick and is being tested:

  • Everyone in your household that is unvaccinated must stay home if anyone has COVID-19 symptoms or is waiting for test results after experiencing symptoms. Stay home until the person with symptoms receives a negative COVID-19 test result, or is cleared by public health.
  • If you are fully vaccinated (14 days or more since your second vaccine dose) and have no symptoms of COVID-19, you are not required to self-isolate while the symptomatic individual waits for their test results.

I am not sick but a household member has been identified as a high-risk contact 

  • The high-risk contact MUST self-isolate away from others in the home. If isolation away from others in the home is not possible, those in contact with the individual MUST also self-isolate.
  • Unvaccinated (or partially vaccinated) household members are required to stay home except for essential reasons for the duration of the person’s isolation period. Essential reasons may include: attending work/school/childcare, essential errands such as groceries, attending medical appointments or picking up prescriptions.
  • If you are fully vaccinated (14 days or more since your second vaccine dose) and have no symptoms of COVID-19, you are not required to self-isolate if you live with someone who is a high-risk contact.
  • If anyone in the household develops symptoms, all unvaccinated household members must self-isolate until the individual with symptoms receives a negative COVID-19 test, or is provided with an alternative diagnosis from a healthcare provider. This means that household members must stay home except for essential reasons, such as medical emergencies, or to get tested. The high-risk contact must continue to self-isolate.  

I am not sick but being tested due to the nature of my work (essential worker, etc.)

  • If you have no symptoms and are at risk of exposure to COVID-19 through your type of employment, including essential workers (e.g., health care workers, grocery store employees, food processing plants), you do not need to self-isolate while awaiting test results.
  • If you develop ANY symptoms at all (even mild symptoms) while you await your results, self-isolate, take the provincial online assessment tool and follow the directions.

I am not sick and neither is my household member, but they are being tested due to the nature of their work (e.g. essential worker)

If you are not sick and neither is your household member/close contact, but they are being tested due to the nature of their work (e.g. essential worker), you do not need to self-isolate while awaiting test results.

I've received my first dose of vaccine, do I still need to isolate if I'm identified as a high-risk contact OR if someone in my household is identified as a high-risk contact?
  • Yes. If you have received only your first dose of vaccine it is important to continue to self-isolate when required. One dose provides good protection but it is still possible to become ill and spread the virus to others.
  • Please note that there is a Section 22 Order issued by the Huron Perth Medical Officer of Health to ensure Huron Perth residents who have been told to self-isolate by public health or a health care provider are doing so. Only having one dose of vaccine does not exempt someone from this order.
I've received my second dose of vaccine, do I still need to isolate if I'm identified as a high-risk contact OR if someone in my household is identified as a high-risk contact?
  • If you do not have any symptoms of COVID-19 and are fully vaccinated (14 days have passed since your second dose) at the time of your high-risk exposure, you do not need to self-isolate but must get tested for COVID-19. Please note that workplace policies may go above and beyond this guidance.
  • There are some EXCEPTIONS (groups that may be required to self-isolate still):
    • Residents of Long-Term Care or Retirement Homes
    • Self-isolation may still be required at the discretion of the local public health unit, if a specific variant of concern (VOC) has been identified.
    • It is advised that individuals with immunocompromising conditions (e.g., organ or stem cell transplantation recipients, undergoing chemotherapy or immunosuppressive therapies) self-isolate, until more studies are done on the effectiveness of vaccines among this group.
  • You must report a high-risk exposure to your employer and follow any restrictions from work, as specified by your workplace.
  • If you develop any symptoms you must self-isolate immediately and get tested. 
I have not been instructed to self-isolate but would like to as a precaution

We encourage all residents to follow all public heath measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as avoiding close contact with people not in your household, washing hands frequently, staying home when sick, and wearing a mask or face covering.

I have been told to self-monitor

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 make arrangements for testing at a COVID-19 testing/assessment centre. While everyone should monitor themselves daily for symptoms of COVID-19, sometimes we recommend people self-monitor if they have had a low-risk exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19.

  • Follow these instructions on How to Self Monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If you develop any symptoms of COVID-19, use the provincial self-assessment tool to help determine if you need to seek further care.
  • If you are having difficulty breathing or experiencing other severe symptoms, call 911 immediately. Advise them of your symptoms, travel history, or exposure risks.

Workplaces

What if an employee at my workplace is confirmed positive for COVID-19? 
  • Individuals testing positive for COVID-19 are directed to self-isolate for 10 days, from the start of symptoms or when they do not have a fever (without the use of fever-reducing medications), and until symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours. 
  • For a case of COVID-19 identified in Huron or Perth, Huron Perth Public Health conducts public health follow-up of close contacts, including any workplace exposures. We will contact your organization or premises as needed to see if additional infection prevention and control measures are required.
  • Individuals that have had close contact (spent extensive time within 2-metre radius) with this employee may need to take additional precautions and will be contacted by HPPH.
  • Please note that the province has support for workers in place.
  • Review and make use of Public Health Ontario’s resource on Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings – COVID-19.
  • Review the physical distancing measures in your workplace and consider any improvements that could be made.  
One of my employees has been identified as a high-risk contact, can my employee still come to work? 

All employees must follow the direction of Public Health if they are contacted as a high-risk contact. The following is subject to change, and is for general information purposes only. (Note: Fully vaccinated means it has been 14 days or longer since the person has received their second dose of vaccine). 

  • Fully vaccinated individuals who are considered high-risk contacts and have COVID-19 symptoms:
    • Must self-isolate and get tested.
      • If their test is negative, they can return to work if it has been 24 hours since their symptoms started improving. Upon receiving a negative PCR test result, symptomatic individuals who are fully immunized or previously positive can be cleared from isolation if afebrile and symptoms have improved for at least 24 hours, and gastrointestinal (GI) (nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain) symptoms resolving for at least 48 hours. 
      • If their test is positive, they will have to continue to self-isolate.
  • Fully vaccinated individuals who are considered high-risk contacts and are asymptomatic (do not have any COVID-19 symptoms):
    • Individuals who are fully vaccinated at the time of their high-risk exposure:
      • Are not required to self-isolate.
      • Are required to get a PCR test done (but do not need to isolate while waiting for results). Note that there are some exceptions.*
      • This is provincial guidance, and it’s important to note that workplaces may have varying rules and policies for employees that have a high-risk exposure.
      • Individuals must report high-risk exposure to their employer and follow any workplace restrictions.
      • *Note: this excludes residents of LTCH’s and RH’s as they are required to isolate. Self-isolation may still be required of the contact at the discretion of the local public health unit. Those with immunocompromising conditions may also be required to self-isolate even if fully vaccinated after a high-risk exposure, as data is currently limited on vaccine effectiveness.
  • Unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated individuals that are considered high-risk contacts:
    • Must self-isolate for 10 days from the date of exposure and get a PCR test.
    • Must continue to self-isolate even if the test result is negative.
  • Everyone is advised to keep following public health measures such as wearing a mask, physically distancing, washing hands frequently and staying home when sick, to stop the spread of COVID-19, even once fully vaccinated.
When can employees who have recovered from COVID-19 return to work? 
  • Employees with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 will be advised by public health on how long to isolate for. Isolation periods can range depending on the situation.
  • If an employee has followed the self-isolation recommendations from public health, they can feel confident they are no longer infectious when they do not have a fever (without the use of fever-reducing medications) and symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours. 

For more information:

See additional resources on our COVID-19 Response Resources page.