Updated: April 7, 2020 at 11:00 am


You MUST self-isolate in certain cases to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This helps protect you if you don’t have the virus. If you have the virus, self-isolating reduces the risk of you passing it on to others. 

When to Self-Isolate
  1. If you’ve travelled outside of Canada and have just returned
  2. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, or provide care to someone with symptoms
  3. If you do NOT have COVID-19 symptoms, but have been advised to self-isolate (strongly recommended if you are over age 70 and/or have existing medical conditions).

How to Self-Isolate
Stay home

Do not use public transportation, taxis or rideshares.

Do not go to work, school or other public places.


Avoid contact with others

No visitors unless essential (e.g. care providers)

Stay away from seniors and people with chronic medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, lung problems, immune deficiency).

As much as possible, stay in a separate room away from other people in your home and use a separate bathroom if you have one.

Make sure that shared rooms have good airflow (e.g. open windows).

If these steps are not possible, keep a distance of at least two metres from others at all times.


Keep your distance

If you are in a room with other people, keep a distance of at least two metres and wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth.

If you cannot wear a mask, people should wear a mask when they are in the same room as you.


Wash your hands

Wash your hands often with soap and water.

Dry your hands with a paper towel, or with your own cloth towel that no one else will share.

Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.


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 safer.

Clean your hands after emptying the wastebasket.


Wear a mask over your nose and mouth

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, or stay in a separate room.


What should I do if I develop symptoms?
  • Complete the COVID-19 Self-Assessment.
  • Contact Telehealth (1-866-797-0000) or your health care provider.
  • Anyone with whom you had close physical contact (e.g., in your household) in the two days before your symptoms started or after symptoms started should also self-isolate. If you have questions about this, call your local public health unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 2050.
  • Isolate for 14 days beginning when your symptoms started.
  • After 14 days, you can stop isolating if you:
    • No longer have a fever and your symptoms have improved
    • Did not develop any symptoms. You MUST continue with physical distancing measures.
  • If you are still unwell at 14 days, contact Telehealth or your health care provider for further direction.

Self-Isolating with NO COVID-19 Symptoms (Older Adults and people with existing medical conditions)

After 14 Days

If you do not develop symptoms after 14 days OR If you no longer have a fever and your symptoms have improved:

  • You can stop self-isolating, but for your protection, stay home except for essential trips (e.g. groceries and medication)
  • You MUST practise physical distancing measures when in public
  • Continue with frequent handwashing and avoid touching your face

If you are still unwell at 14 days, contact Telehealth or your health care provider for further direction.

Additional Resources
Watch our video on YouTube

This information is from the Public Health Ontario fact sheet “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) How to self-isolate”

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