This Version Posted: June 3, 2022
Learn what to do if you have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms.
What to Do if You Are a Close Contact of a COVID-19 Case But Do Not Live in the Same Household
If you’ve been exposed to someone from another household with symptoms of COVID-19 or who has tested positive for COVID-19, you do not need to isolate (regardless of your vaccination status). However, for 10 days after exposure, you should:
- Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.
- Wear a mask and avoid activities where removing a mask would be necessary (like dining out).
- Do not visit anyone who is at higher risk of illness (like seniors).
- Do not visit or attend work in high-risk settings (like hospitals and long-term care homes) unless you have previously tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days.
Close Contacts vs. High-Risk Contacts
When it comes to potential exposure to a COVID-19 case, you are considered a close contact if:
- You were within 2 metres (6 feet) for a prolonged period of time (at least 15 minutes, or multiple shorter lengths of time)
- You had multiple close encounters with someone
- You had close personal contact with the person, such as a hug, handshake or massage.
- You live or provide care in the same home
You are not considered a close contact if:
- You had a brief close contact while wearing a mask and/or with a barrier in place
- You passed someone quickly
- You greeted someone and kept your distance
- You made a delivery to someone who was self-isolating, but had no contact with them.
- A high-risk contact is someone who had close contact (see above) with a positive case during their contagious period.
- People can be contagious with COVID-19 for 48 hours before their symptoms start. If they did not have symptoms, their contagious period is considered to be 48 hours before their positive test result (whichever came first).
- What to Do if You Have COVID-19 Symptoms or Tested Positive for the Virus – HKPR District Health Unit
- What to do if You have been Exposed to COVID-19 – Province of Ontario
- Provincial Testing and Isolation Information Line – Government of Ontario
- Call this toll-free line at 1-888-777-0730 to ask questions and get information on COVID-19 testing, self-isolating rules, and what to do if you were exposed to someone with COVID-19. Assistance is available Mondays to Sundays from 8 am to 6 pm.
- COVID-19 Integrated Testing and Case, Contact and Outbreak Management Interim Guidance: Omicron Surge – Ministry of Health (March 9/22)
- Who is a Close Contact? – Ottawa Public Health
Questions? Submit a question through the Health Unit’s Click and Connect.