Updated January 3, 2022
You are considered a high-risk contact of someone who has COVID-19. A high-risk contact is someone who had close contact 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). Close contact is:
- Any face-to-face contact (2 metres or closer) for a total of 15 minutes or longer (even if there were several shorter interactions that added up to 15 minutes, and even if wearing a mask).
- Any face-to-face or physical contact while one or both people were not wearing a mask and within 2 metres for any length of time.
- Received or provided any service or interaction without appropriate and consistent use of PPE (medical mask and eye protection) for any length of time.
Due to your close contact with a positive case, you are at risk of developing COVID-19. COVID-19 can be spread before symptoms develop. In order to stop the spread of the virus, please follow these instructions.
If you live with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive for the virus:
You must isolate for the same amount of time as the positive case, regardless of your vaccination status.
If you are fully vaccinated, have no symptoms, do not live with the positive case and are otherwise healthy, or are under 12 years of age:
- Self-monitor for symptoms for 10 days after your last exposure
- Wear a mask, practice physical distancing, and follow all other public health measures if leaving home
- Do not visit any high-risk settings or people who may be at higher risk of illness (such as seniors) for 10 days after your last exposure
If you are not fully vaccinated or are immunocompromised:
Isolate for 10 days after your last exposure, regardless of whether you have any symptoms
If you live, work, attend, volunteer, or have been admitted in a high-risk setting such as:
- Hospitals and health care settings, including complex continuing care facilities and acute care facilities
- Congregate living settings, such as long-term care and retirement homes, First Nation elder care lodges, group homes, shelters, hospices, temporary foreign worker settings, and correctional institutions
- First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities
Notify them of the exposure and do not go there for 10 days from your last exposure, when the symptoms began, or when you were diagnosed. You will be provided with information about work self-isolation options if necessary, in response to critical staffing shortages. If you live in a high-risk setting, you should isolate regardless of vaccination status.
If you develop any symptoms:
Monitor yourself for the following symptoms for 10 days after your last contact with the person who tested positive. All other household members must also monitor for symptoms. It is important for any household member to stay home and follow isolation requirements if they develop any of the following symptoms:
-Shortness of Breath
-Decreased/loss of smell and taste
-Runny nose/nasal congestion
-GI symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea)
If symptoms develop, you and your household must isolate for five days from the onset of your symptoms if you are fully vaccinated and otherwise healthy, or if you are under 12 years of age. If you are not fully vaccinated or are immunocompromised you must isolate for 10 days since your symptoms began.
How to self-isolate
Self-isolation means staying at home and on your property as directed (either 5 or 10 days, as directed above) after your last contact with the person who tested positive.
- You should not leave home for any reason other than to get tested for COVID-19 (if eligible) or for emergency medical attention. If you seek emergency medical attention, please tell health care providers that you have been in close contact with a positive case of COVID-19.
- Stay in a designated section of your home and wear a face covering when interacting with others.
- Additional information on how to self-isolate can be found in this guidance document from Public Health Ontario.
If you do not develop symptoms by end of your isolation period, you are no longer required to self-isolate but should continue to monitor for symptoms and maintain public health precautions.
Seeking health care
If you develop concerning symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, confusion/not knowing where you are, loss of consciousness, call 911.
For more information
HPEPH is working to respond to a high volume of cases in the region and is not able to respond individually to the large volume of calls being received. Please review this letter thoroughly, as well as:
- What to do if you’re exposed or have symptoms
- Understanding self-isolation
- Getting tested for COVID-19
- Information about COVID-19
If you have any additional questions after reviewing the information above, please complete our online inquiry form at hpePublicHealth.ca/contact. Please note, responses will be prioritized for questions that are not answered in this letter or at the links listed above. If you need immediate medical assistance, please call Telehealth Ontario 24 hours a day at 1-866-797-0000.