COVID-19: Self-Isolation

Self-isolation is when you have been instructed to separate yourself from others, with the purpose of preventing the spread of the virus, including those within your home.  There is a difference between staying home when you are sick and self-isolating.  Self-isolation is only required if there is a risk of COVID-19 exposure.  It is still recommended that individuals stay home when they are sick; however, they are not required to self-isolate for 14 days if there is not a risk of COVID-19 exposure.

Who Should Self-Isolate?

Self-isolation is mandatory, as per the Quarantine Act, for:

  • Individuals that have returned to Canada from international travel (including the US) after March 25, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.

Self-isolation is strongly recommended for:

  • Individuals over the age of 70 years 
  • Individuals with chronic health conditions (e.g., diabetes, heart conditions), individuals with conditions that affect their immune systems (e.g. HIV/AIDS), or individuals getting treatment that affects their immune system (e.g. chemotherapy)
  • Individuals that returned to Canada from international travel (including the US) before March 25, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Individuals that returned from travel outside of Northwestern Ontario as of March 27, 2020
  • All close contacts of symptomatic individuals that returned from international travel
  • All close contacts of symptomatic individuals that returned from travel outside of Northwestern Ontario, as of March 27, 2020
  • Individuals that live with, provide care for or spend extensive time with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or is suspected to have COVID-19
  • Symptomatic health care workers

If symptoms develop during the isolation period (fever over 38°C and/or a new or worsening cough), call Telehealth at 1 (866) 797-0000 or TBDHU (807) 625-5900 or toll-free at 1-888-294-6630, and separate yourself from others in your household to the greatest extent possible.

What Self-Isolation Means Practically

Self-Isolation WITHOUT Symptoms:

  • Go directly to your home / place of self-isolation, without delay, and stay there for 14 days. If returning from travel, you can take public transportation to get to your place of self-isolation after you arrive in Canada, but you must not stop on the way home and practice physical distancing at all times. 
  • Individuals who are over 70 years old, with chronic health conditions or weakened immune systems are strongly recommended to self-isolate beyond 14 days until public health authorities say it it safe to stop self-isolating.
  • Stay home:
    • Do not go to work, school or other public places (indoor or outdoor).
    • Do not use public transportation, taxis or rideshares.
    • Do not go outside for a walk, bike ride, etc. You can go in your own backyard or property but must ensure that you can keep 2 metres distance from any public space.
    • If you live in an apartment or condo, do not go into any communal or shared areas, such as hallways, gyms, public washrooms, elevators, stairwells, laundry rooms, etc.).
  • Self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. If symptoms develop, call TBDHU and follow directions for self-isolating with symptoms (below).
  • Do not have visitors in your home.
  • If you need food or medicine, ask a friend or family member to deliver it to your doorstep, or use a grocery delivery service.
  • Keep a distance of at least 2 metres from others, including people in your household.
  • Practice good personal hygiene, cough etiquette and environmental cleaning (for more information visit the Infection Prevention and Control Measures page).
  • If you must leave the house (e.g. to see a health care provider), first call the health care provider to ensure they are open and can see you. When outside, ensure 2 metres of physical distancing is always maintained, and if you have symptoms, wear a surgical mask if you have one. Do not use public transit, taxis or rideshares.
  • As long as symptoms do not develop, close contacts should self-monitor and practice physical distancing.

After the 14 day period of self-isolation, individuals should continue to self-monitor and practice physical distancing and other infection prevention and control measures in order to avoid getting sick.

If Symptoms Develop During Self-Isolation

  • If symptoms develop during any day of the 14 day self-isolation period, the individual must self isolate for an additional 14 days from the onset of symptoms.
    • Follow guidelines for self-isolation with symptoms (see section below) and call TBDHU (807-625-5900).
  • All close contacts of the person who developed symptoms must self-isolate for 14 days, starting from the date of exposure (that person’s onset date of symptoms). If symptoms develop in the close contact:
    • call TBDHU at (807) 625-5900 or 1 (888) 294-6630. 
    • Their close contacts should also self-isolate for 14 days starting from the date of exposure.

Self-Isolation WITH Symptoms

  • Go directly to your home / place of self-isolation, without delay, and stay there for 14 days. Go to your place of self-isolation using private transportation only, such as a personal vehicle.
    • If you have symptoms but do not have a place to self-isolate, you will be required to self-isolate for 14 days in a facility designated by the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada.
  • Stay inside your home:
    • Do not go to work, school or other public places (indoor or outdoor).
    • Do not use public transportation, taxis or rideshares.
    • Do not go outside for a walk, bike ride, etc. You cannot go in your own backyard or property (outdoors).
    • If you live in an apartment or condo, do not go into any communal or shared areas, such as hallways, gyms, public washrooms, elevators, stairwells, laundry rooms, etc.
  • Do not have visitors in your home.
  • If you need food or medicine, ask a friend or family member to deliver it to your doorstep.
  • Avoid contact with others in the place of self-isolation, including children. Stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom, if possible.
  • Practice good personal hygiene, cough etiquette and environmental cleaning (for more information visit the Infection Prevention and Control Measures page).
  • Tell people you had close contact with to self-isolate if you interacted / came into close contact 2 days before your symptoms began.
  • If symptoms get worse, immediately contact your health care provider or TBDHU and follow their instructions.

 After the self-isolation period, individuals should continue to practice physical distancing and other infection prevention and control measures.

Additional Resources

For other languages, please visit: COVID-19 Public Resources

 

For more information on COVID-19 visit the COVID-19 topics of interest webpage.

Last Updated: 04/04/2020