Self-Isolation Instructions for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Last Updated: October 15, 2020

NEW self-Isolation periods have changed. 
Self-isolation periods NOW range from 10,14, to 20 days or more (rare). You must self-isolate while you are waiting for COVID-19 test results. 
If you test positive for COVID-19 with mild to moderate illness (the majority), the self- isolation period is now 10 days from symptom onset. Before you stop self-isolation, your symptoms must also have improved for at least 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medications) before returning to work or school. 
If you test positive to COVID-19 with no symptoms, the self-isolation period is now 10-days as long as you stay symptom free. If you been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you must stay home and self-isolate for 14 days from your last contact with that person. Self-isolation period is 14 days as this is the incubation period for the COVID-19 virus. 
If you are suffering from severe COVID-19 illness, or severe immunocompromise the self- isolation period is now 20 days, provided that you have no fever (without the use of fever-reducing medications) and symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours.

Who is a high risk contact?

High risk contacts can be a household and /or a close contact as defined below:  

  • A household contact is anyone who lives with the person being tested like parents, siblings, roommates or who provided care to you in the home (such as bathing, toileting, dressing, feeding). This includes other persons who may have similar unprotected contact with you (such as partners living in other households or people who visited with you indoors for prolonged periods without wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing).  
  • A close contact, also known as a high-risk contact, is someone exposed to a person who tested positive for the virus. Exposures can occur in your home, other indoor places when physical distancing is difficult to maintain, or even outdoors when being close together for longer periods of time.  

Ottawa Public Health assesses and does follow up to identify high risk contacts.  

On this page:

COVID-19 Class Order for Self-Isolation – What Does it Mean for Me? 

The provincial Health Protection & Promotion Act allows the Medical Officer of Health to issue a "class order." The order was issued on September 22, 2020, and is in effect until the Medical Officer of Health declares it is no longer needed

The "class order" directs people to stay home and self-isolate until they are not contagious (able to spread the infection to others). The purpose is to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of everyone in Ottawa. The goal of this order is to provide authority to gather information in situations that may lead to COVID-19 spread and, in the rare occasions, to hold individuals responsible who are unreasonably ignoring the Public Health guidance and knowingly putting others at risk.  A person who knowingly ignores this class order to self-isolate can be charged and fined up to $5,000 per day and Police may be called upon to assist.  

The class order is directed to:

  • People with symptoms of COVID-19.
  • People who tested positive for COVID-19.
  • People in recent close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. This includes caregivers and household members.

The class order does not apply to:

  • People who do not meet the criteria above but are still getting tested.

Can people be exempted from the class order?  

Yes, some essential health care workers, who are high risk contacts with no symptoms may be permitted to work. However, they must self-isolate at home when they are not working or travelling to/from work. Exceptions may also be made for people leaving domestic violence. Ottawa Public Health will review exceptions for each situation.  People can still go for medical appointments when they are in self-isolation. Contact Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 for instructions before going to a medical clinic or hospital.  

Can someone legally challenge the class order?  

Yes, the person listed in the class order can challenge it by appealing to the Health Services Appeal and Review Board: http://www.hsarb.on.ca/scripts/english/contact.asp.  

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If you have one or more symptoms of COVID-19 or think you may have been exposed to the virus, take the Ministry of Health’s self-assessment to find out if you should get tested.

Exposed to COVID-19, what now?

If you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you should: 

  • Find out how to get tested. Visit the OPH testing web page.
  • If you do not get tested, you must stay home and self-isolate for 14 days after your last contact with that person. Self-isolation period is 14 days as this is the incubation period for the COVID-19 virus.
  • Monitor  daily for symptoms of COVID-19. 
  • If you do get tested you must self-isolate while you wait for your results. Even if your test result is negative you must continue to self-isolate for the full 14 days as this is the incubation period for the COVID-19 virus.

The self-isolation instructions and criteria to discontinue self-isolation vary for each person's situation. Click on the title below that best describes your situation. 

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Have symptoms of COVID-19, what now?

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, and you were not a close contact of someone with COVID-19, you must:

  • Stay home and self-isolate for 10 days after your symptoms started. After 10 days, you can stop isolating if you no longer have a fever (without the use of fever-reducing medications) and symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours. You should continue with physical distancing measures. If you are still unwell at 10 days, contact Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 or Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744.
  • Find out how to get tested and what you need to do.
  • You can stop isolating if you test negative for COVID-19 and symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours. School students, staff and visitors can return to school if they test negative for COVID-19 and symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours.
  • All of your household contacts will need to self-isolate until a negative test result comes back.

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Have COVID-19, what now?

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you must:

  • Stay home and self-isolate for 10 days after your symptoms started. After 10 days, you can stop isolating if you no longer have a fever and your symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours, but you should continue with physical distancing measures. If you are still unwell at 10 days, contact Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 or Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744.
  • If you were hospitalized in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with severe COVID-19 illness, or have a severe immune compromise, you will have to self-isolate for 20 days.
  • Severe illness is defined as requiring Intensive Care Unit (ICU) level of care for COVID-19 illness or severe immune compromise.
  • Examples of severe immune compromise include cancer chemotherapy, untreated HIV infection, taking prednisone for an extended period of time and taking other immune suppressive medications. 

NOTE: absence of cough is not required to end isolation for those known to have chronic cough or who are experiencing reactive airways post-infection. 

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What is self-isolation?

  • Self-isolation is a behavior that helps to prevent the spread of COVID-19Self-isolation includes staying at home,avoiding contact with other people and only leaving home for critical reasons, like a medical emergency.
  • The purpose of self-isolation is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others in your home, schools, and our community at large. 
  • A person self-isolating MUST self-isolate at home and protect other people in their home from exposure. 
  • A person cannot leave their place of isolation unless it is to get medical care.They need to wear cloth or medical mask when they  leave to see a health care provider. 
  • Do not leave to go for walk. Stay in private place like your yard or balcony if you go outside for fresh air. 
  • Exception: For household contacts of people with symptoms who do not have any symptoms themselves, short walks outside are permitted as long as individuals wear a mask, stay at least 2-metres physically distanced, and do not enter any public spaces such as grocery stores and playgrounds. 
  • Do not use public transportation (such as buses and trains). If a person is  seeking medical attention and does not have a private vehicle, they should  use a taxi or rideshare, wear a mask, sit in the rear seat on the opposite side of the driver, and open the windows (weather permitting).
  • Do not go to school or work in-person (attend virtually if you can). 
  • A person should stay in separate room and use separate bathroom from others in their home,if possible.
  • Do not have visitors. Limit contact with others in place of isolation, including children.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water; to dry use a paper towel or a cloth that no one shares.
  • Try to get groceries,medication,or other essential items online, over the phone,from friends,family, neighbours or anyone else who is not in self-isolation. Have items left at the door to minimize contact. 
    • *If this is not possible, call 2-1-1 for information on the full range of community, social, government and health service programs available in Ottawa, and how to access them.
  • If a person must be in contact with others, wear cloth mask and practice physical distancing to keep at least two metres (6 feet) between people. 
  • “How to Isolate at Home When You May Have COVID-19” – instructions are available in over 20 languages online, visit: canada.ca/en/public-health/services/ publications/diseases-conditions/covid-19-how-to-isolate-at-home.html 
  • For self-isolation resources and additional instructions please visit Ottawa Public Health’s (OPH) website at: OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Self-Isolate. 

The time you must self-isolate depends on your individual situation.Different situations will also have different criteria to discontinue self-isolation. Click on the Self-isolation instructions and refer to the title that best fits your situation. 

You must self-isolate if you have: 

  • returned from travel outside Canada and follow the rules set out by the emergency orders under the Quarantine Act, 
  • tested positive for COVID-19,
  • been in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19,
  • are a household contact of a symptomatic person waiting for COVID-19 test results 

Note: In Canada, it is recommended to verify with the province or territory you are travelling to for any self-isolation requirements. Manitoba has restricted travel into and out of northern communities and Nunavut and the NWTs have travel restrictions including mandatory self-isolation. 

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Know the Symptoms 

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, please continue to self-isolate, follow the self-isolation instructions, and do not leave your place of isolation unless it is to go for testing or to seek medical care.

Self-Monitor For Symptoms

Self-monitoring is when you check your health for symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, cough and difficulty breathing. If these symptoms develop, visit our Assessment Centres and Care Clinics Web page for information on where and when to get tested.

Self-monitoring means to: 

You should self-monitor if:

  • You have no symptoms, AND
  • You may have been exposed to COVID-19 in the last 14 days, OR
  • You are in close contact with older adults or people who are medically vulnerable, OR
  • You have been asked to do so by Ottawa Public Health authority

Self-isolation instructions

The self-isolation instructions and criteria to discontinue self-isolation vary for each person's situation. Click on the title below that best describes your situation.

Returning from travel WITH symptoms of COVID-19

On March 25, 2020 the Government of Canada issued an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act that requires any person entering Canada by air, sea, or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19.

  • This order will be fully implemented by the Canada Border Services Agency at points of entry.
  • The Government of Canada will use its authority under the Quarantine Act to ensure compliance with the order.
  • Failure to comply with this Order is an offense under the Quarantine Act and can result in a fine.
  • Spot checks will be conducted by the Government of Canada to verify compliance.
  • All individuals permitted to enter Canada are subject to this Order except for certain people who cross the border regularly to ensure the continued flow of goods and services, and those who provide essential services. Individuals exempt from the Order will still need to practice physical distancing and self monitoring and contact their local public health authority if they feel sick.
  • Currently, travel to Canada is restricted for all foreign nationals coming from any country. These new restrictions prohibit foreign nationals, including U.S. nationals, from entering Canada for non-essential travel. There are some exemptions to restrictions: temporary foreign workers, some students, and persons delivering urgent medical supplies as long as they do not exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.

Returning travellers WITH COVID-19 symptoms :

  • If you have recently returned to Canada and you have symptoms, you must isolate immediatelyThis is mandatory. You can leave quarantine for urgent medical care only.
  • The only people who may enter Canada if they have COVID-19 or any symptoms of COVID-19 are:
    • Canadians
    • persons with status under the Indian Act
    • permanent residents
  • You must go directly to your place where you will quarantine or self-isolate without stopping anywhere. You will be required to quarantine or self-isolate for 14 days since your arrival in Canada. Please refer to the Government of Canada website for more information.
  • If you can’t quarantine in your own home, consider other options within your financial means, such as:
    • Hotel
    • Motel
    • Other paid housing
    • Friends or family, as long as you won’t expose anyone who:
      • Is not part of your travel group
      • Is at risk of more severe outcomes of COVID-19
  • If no other options are available, you may be required to isolate for 14 days in a facility designated by the Government of Canada as a last resort.
  • If needed, immediate medical attention will be provided when you arrive in Canada.
  • Wash your hands and put on the mask given to you before leaving the airport. Keep the mask on while in all public settings as you travel home or to your isolation place.
  • You may not isolate in a place where there are vulnerable people including people who have a medical condition, weakened immune systems, or who are 70 years of age or older.
  • Leaving your property to go for a walk is not permitted. Stay in a private place like your yard or balcony if you go outside for fresh air. 

Follow general instructions for self-isolation listed above.

Worsening COVID-19 symptoms follow general instructions for self-monitoring:

  • If your symptoms are worsening to a point where you cannot manage at home, go to your nearest emergency department and/or call 911.

Criteria to discontinue self-isolation:

Fourteen (14) days since your return to Canada AND 14 days after your symptoms started, whichever is longer, as long as you have no fever (without fever reducing medication) and your symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours. Absence of a cough is not required for those known to have chronic cough or who are having a reactive airway post-infection.

Please note: hospitalized patients and health care workers may have different criteria for discontinuing self-isolation. Please refer to the Ottawa Public Health Criteria for discharge from self-isolation and return to work for HCWs for more information.

Continue physical distancing AFTER your self-isolation has ended, OPH recommends that everyone be SocialWise and COVIDWise:

Returning from travel WITHOUT symptoms of COVID-19

On March 25, 2020 the Government of Canada issued an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act that requires any person entering Canada by air, sea, or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19.

  • This order will be fully implemented by the Canada Border Services Agency at points of entry.
  • The Government of Canada will use its authority under the Quarantine Act to ensure compliance with the order.
  • Failure to comply with this Order is an offense under the Quarantine Actand can result in a fine.
  • Spot checks will be conducted by the Government of Canada to verify compliance.
  • All individuals permitted to enter Canada are subject to this Order except for certain people who cross the border regularly to ensure the continued flow of goods and services, and those who provide essential services. Individuals exempt from the Order will still need to practice physical distancing and self monitoring and contact their local public health authority if they feel sick.
  • Travel to Canada is also currently being restricted for all foreign nationals coming from any country. These new restrictions prohibit foreign nationals, including U.S. nationals, from entering Canada for non-essential travel. Exemptions to the prohibition exist for certain groups of foreign nationals, for example, temporary foreign workers, some students, and persons delivering urgent medical supplies as long as they do not exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.

Listed below are instructions for returning travellers WITHOUT symptoms:

  • Go directly to the place where you will quarantine (self-isolate), do not stop anywhere, and stay in your place of isolation for 14 days from the date you arrived in Canada.
  • Do not take public transportation. If a you can’t use a private vehicle, take a taxi or ride-share, wear a procedure/surgical mask and sit in the rear passenger side, keep the windows open, weather permitting. You must not make any unnecessary stops on your way home.
  • Ensure you have a suitable place of quarantine that has everything you need, is not a group living environment, and is not shared with those at risk of more severe disease.
  • Self-monitor daily and get tested if you develop signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Practice physical distancing of 2 meters (6 feet) at all times.

Follow general instructions for those on self-isolation listed above.

Developing COVID-19 symptoms:

  • You will need to get tested if you develop any signs and symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., cough, fever, difficulty breathing)
  • Anyone whose test result is positive will be followed up by Ottawa Public Health (OPH).
  • If you have any questions, please contact Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 or Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744.

Please Note: A negative test result does not rule out the possibility that you are currently infected with COVID-19 since you may have been in the early stages of the infection at the time of the test.

Criteria to discontinue self-isolation:

Fourteen (14) days since your return to Canada  AND you have not developed any symptoms of COVID-19 

* Please note: hospitalized patients and health care workers may have different criteria for discontinuing self-isolation. Please refer to the Ottawa Public Health Criteria for discharge from self-isolation and return to work for HCWs for more information.

Continue physical distancing AFTER your self-isolation has ended, OPH recommends that everyone be SocialWise and COVIDWise:

Travel within Canada 
  • People returning to Ontario following travel within Canada do NOT need to self-isolate as long as they have no symptoms of COVID-19 but should continue to self-monitor and be COVIDWise. 

  • It is recommended that travellers verify with the province they are travelling to for any self-isolation requirements.

Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 or waiting for test results for COVID-19

If you have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus you will need to self-isolate and self-monitor for at least 10 days.
If you are waiting for test results, you will have to self-isolate until you receive the test results. Based on your test results.
Please notify any household or close contacts from 2 days (48 hours) before you developed symptoms until when you started self-isolation. Household members may have been exposed to COVID-19. A household contact is anyone who lived with you or who provided care to you in the home (such as bathing, toileting, dressing, feeding). This includes other persons who may have similar unprotected contact with you (such as partners living in other households or people who visited with you indoors for prolonged periods). People in your household will need to self-isolate for at least 14 days.Ottawa Public Health will also contact them and tell them if, when and where to get tested. 

Ottawa Public Heath will be in contact with you to assess how you are feeling, get a list of your close contacts and tell you how long you will need to self-isolate. If you tested postive, OPH will contact you every day to monitor your health and offer support. It is very important that you provide a phone number and time that you can be reached each day.

Monitoring COVID-19 symptoms:

If you are in distress (e.g., significant trouble breathing, chest pain, fainting, or have a significant worsening of any chronic disease symptoms), do not go to an assessment centre or a COVID-19 care clinic. Go to the nearest emergency department or call 9-1-1.

  • Contact your health care provider if your symptoms worsen or are not resolving.
  • If you have any questions, please contact Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 or Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744

Criteria to discontinue self-isolation:

  • While waiting to receive your test result, you must self-isolate at home.
  • Discontinuing self-isolation depends on if you know if you have been exposed to COVID-19 and on your COVID-19 test result. Please refer to the following table for your situation.
Exposure history
WhoWhen COVID-19 Test PositiveWhen COVID-19 Test Negative
Known exposure to a person with COVID-19 

Ten (10) days after symptoms started as long as you have no fever (without fever reducing medicaton) and your symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours. Absence of a cough is not required for those known to have chronic cough or who are having a reactive airway post-infection

Fourteen (14) days after you last had contact with the person who tested positive for COVID-19

AND you have no fever (without fever reducing medication)

AND you have no symptoms

No known exposure to a person with COVID-19

Ten (10) days after symptoms started as long as you have no fever and your symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours. Absence of a cough is not required for those known to have chronic cough or who are having a reactive airway post-infection

24 hours after symptoms resolve

* Please note: hospitalized patients and health care workers have different criteria for discontinuing self-isolation. Please refer to the Ottawa Public Health Criteria for discharge from self-isolation and return to work for HCWs for more information.

Continue physical distancing AFTER your self-isolation has ended, OPH recommends that everyone be SocialWise and COVIDWise:

Individuals with symptoms of COVID-19

If you have signs or symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., cough, fever, difficulty breathing), you need to get tested.
You must self-isolate and self-monitor. Do Not return to daycare/school/work in-person.

Please notify any household or close contacts from 2 days (48 hours) before you developed symptoms until when you started self-isolation. Household members may have been exposed to COVID-19. A household contact is anyone who lived with you or who provided care to you in the home (such as bathing, toileting, dressing, feeding). This includes other persons who may have similar unprotected contact with you (such as partners living in other households or people who visited with you indoors for prolonged periods). People in your household will need to self-isolate for at least 14 days. Ottawa Public Health will also contact them and tell them if, when and where to get tested.

Follow specific instructions for those with symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Avoid isolating in a place where there are vulnerable people including people who have a medical condition, compromised immune systems, or older adults
  • Leaving your property to go for a walk is not permitted. Stay in a private place like your yard or balcony if you go outside for fresh air. 

Follow general instructions for those on self-isolation listed above.

Monitoring COVID-19 symptoms:

  • Please note that most people with mild symptoms will recover on their own at home.
  • If your symptoms are worsening to a point where you cannot manage at home, go to your nearest emergency department and/or call 911.
  • If you are in distress (significant trouble breathing, chest pain, fainting, or have a significant worsening of any chronic disease symptom), go to the nearest Emergency Department or Call 9-1-1.
  • Contact your health care provider if your symptoms worsen or are not resolving.
  • If you have any questions, please contact Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 or Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744

Criteria to discontinue self-isolation:

  • Discontinuing self-isolation depends on your test result, known exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, and severity of your illness.
  • Please refer to the following table for your situation.
Exposure History
WhoWhen COVID-19 Test PositiveWhen COVID-19 Test Negative
Known exposure to a person with COVID-19

Ten (10) days after symptoms started or 10 days from your last exposure to the close contact whichever is longer, as long as you have no fever (without fever reducing medication) AND your symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours.
Absence of a cough is not required for those known to have chronic cough or who are having a reactive airway post-infection

Fourteen (14) days after your symptoms started or14 days from your last exposure to the close contact, whichever is longer AND as long as your symptoms have resolved for at least 24 hours.
If you develop new symptoms or have on-going symptoms, re-testing is recommended.
Note: the incubation period for the virus is 14 days and if you get tested before day 5 the virus may not be detected.

No known exposure to a person with COVID-19 

Ten (10) days after symptoms started as long as you have no fever (without fever reducing medication) AND your symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours.
Absence of a cough is not required for those known to have chronic cough or who are having a reactive airway post-infection

24 hours after symptoms resolve

* Please note: hospitalized patients and health care workers may have different criteria for discontinuing self-isolation. Please refer to the Ottawa Public Health Criteria for discharge from self-isolation and return to work for HCWs for more information.

Continue physical distancing AFTER your self-isolation has ended. OPH recommends that everyone be SocialWise and COVIDWise:

Individuals who have been told they are a high-risk contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19

A household contact is anyone who lives with the person being tested like parents, siblings, roommates or who provided care to you in the home (such as bathing, toileting, dressing, feeding). This includes other persons who may have similar unprotected contact with you (such as partners living in other households or people who visited with you indoors for prolonged periods without wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing).
*Please note that self-isolation requirements for residents of Ottawa may differ from those in other health units.

What is a close contact (also known as high-risk contact)? 

  • A close contact, also known as a high-risk contact, is someone exposed to a person diagnosed with COVID-19 (someone who tested positive for the virus). Exposures can occur in your home, other indoor places when physical distancing is difficult to maintain, or even outdoors when being close together for longer periods of time.
  • Ottawa Public Health (OPH) will notify you by letter or automated call if you are identified as a high-risk contact of a person who tests positive for COVID-19 in a school or daycare.
  • Please note: Being notified of a single case in your place of work or child’s school or daycare does NOT mean you/your child is a high-risk contact. OPH notifies high-risk contacts directly.

Who is a close contact?

A "close contact" is a person who has been in near physical proximity to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. "Close contacts" are directly contacted by OPH and receive further guidance. OPH identifies close contacts through a detailed review of factors such as the individual’s symptoms, where they have been, and who they have interacted with. The following people may be considered higher risk or "close contacts";  

  • A person who came within 2 metres (6 feet) of a person who has tested positive; the longer they were within 2 metres the higher the risk*

  • A person who lives within the same household or provides care to a person who has tested positive (e.g., bathing, feeding or dressing)

  • A person with whom a person who has tested positive had close physical contact (e.g., shaking hands, or hugging)

  • A person who may have been coughed or sneezed on by a person who has tested positive 

If you have been contacted by someone or OPH that you are a high-risk contact you will need to self-isolate and monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Testing is recommended:

  • If you have any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 get tested no sooner than 5 days after the last date of contact with the person who tested positive for COVID-19

*Interactions where people briefly come within 2 metres (6 feet) of each other, such as walking by someone on the sidewalk, are generally not considered close contacts.

Follow general instructions for those on self-isolation listed above. 

Monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms:

  • If you develop symptoms of COVID-19,  use this self-assessment tool to find out how to get further care.
  • Please note that most people with mild symptoms will recover on their own at home.
  • If your symptoms are worsening to a point where you cannot manage at home, go to your nearest emergency department and/or call 911.

Criteria to discontinue self-isolation:

  • Discontinuing self-isolation depends on whether or not you are still in contact with a case of COVID-19. Please refer to the following table for your situation:
Criteria to discontinue self-isolation:
Contact historyCriteria

No longer in contact with someone who has COVID-19 and does not have symptoms of COVID-19

(e.g., lives in different household OR lives in same household and can separate by using a separate bedroom and bathroom and can always maintain more than 2 metres distance from the person(s) with COVID-19)

Fourteen (14) days since the last day you had contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19

AND you have not developed any symptoms of COVID-19 

Ongoing contact with someone who has COVID-19

(e.g., lives in same household and unable to separate because you continue to share the same bedroom and/or bathroom)

Fourteen (14) days from the time the person with COVID-19 ends their self-isolation period

AND you have not developed any symptoms of COVID-19 

* Please note: hospitalized patients and health care workers may have different criteria for discontinuing self-isolation. Please refer to the Ottawa Public Health Criteria for discharge from self-isolation and return to work for HCWs for more information.

Continue physical distancing AFTER your self-isolation has ended. OPH recommends that everyone be SocialWise and COVIDWise:

Older adults

Ottawa Public Health states that the risk of serious illness from COVID-19 increases progressively with age, particularly beyond 50 years of age. Every individual needs to consider their personal risk factors when making decisions OPH recommends that Older Adults avoid non-essential trips in the community as much as possible. When going out into the community, remember that it is important to be COVIDWise.

Visit our webpage for more information on how to, stay active and be social. Check in with yourself. It’s okay not to be okay. For resources, please visit our Mental Health and COVID-19 webpage.

If you develop signs and symptoms of COVID-19 visit our webpage for testing facilities, times and locations.

Individuals with severe COVID-19 illness or severe immunocomprise

If you are suffering from severe COVID-19 illness, or severe immunocompromise the isolation period is now 20 days, provided that you have no fever (without the use of fever-reducing medications) and symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours.

  • Severe illness is defined as requiring Intensive Care Unit (ICU) level of care for COVID-19 illness or severe immune compromise.
  • Examples of severe immune compromise include cancer chemotherapy, untreated HIV infection, taking prednisone for an extended period of time and taking other immune suppressive medications.

Those with weakened immune systems or underlying medical conditions

Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health is strongly urging those with weakened immune systems or underlying medical conditions to stay at home and self-isolate.

In addition to increasing age, people who have serious underlying medical conditions (such as: cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic lung disease, chronic liver disease, cancer, are immunocompromised) or who are severely obese are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Every individual needs to consider their personal risk factors when making decisions about going out and remember to always be COVIDWise.

Follow general instructions for those on self-isolation listed above and when going out into the community, remember that it is important to be COVIDWise:

Visit our webpage for more information on how to, stay active and be social. Check in with yourself. It’s okay not to be okay. For resources, please visit our Mental Health and COVID-19 webpage.

If you develop signs and symptoms of COVID-19 visit our webpage for testing facilities, times and locations.

Developing COVID-19 symptoms:

  • If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, use the Government of Ontario COVID-19 self-assessment tool to find out how to get further care.
  • If your symptoms are worsening to a point where you cannot manage at home, go to your nearest emergency department and/or call 911

Discontinuing self-isolation:

  • If you are suffering from severe COVID-19 illness, or severe immunocompromise the isolation period is now 20 days, provided that you have no fever (without the use of fever-reducing medications) and symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours.

All other Ottawa residents (except those listed above)

Learn more about the current testing recommendations

  • Practice physical distancing.
    • Keep a distance of at least two meters (6 feet) from others.
    • Household contacts (people you live with) do not need to distance from each other unless they are sick or have travelled within the past 14 days.
    • Limit group gatherings.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
    • Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hand.
    • Connect via phone, video chat, or social media instead of in-person.
    • Talk to your employer about working from home, if possible.
    • Avoid visiting elderly friends or relatives unless the visit is essential.
    • Keep windows down for essential community trips via taxi or rideshares.
    • You can go outside for a walk, play catch/kick a ball, throw a football, fly a kite, sit on a blanket, grass or lawn chair, or exercise/stretch on a yoga mat, but not in a class (learn more on the new guidelines for the use of City parks). While outside, avoid spitting in public, avoid crowds and maintain a distance of two metres (six feet) from those around you. Make an effort to step-aside or pass others quickly and courteously on sidewalks. Passing someone on the sidewalk is not considered close contact or a significant risk for exposure to COVID-19.

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Additional Information to Stay Healthy and Safe

Keep your hands clean:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer), and dry with disposable paper towels or dry reusable towel, replacing it when it becomes wet.
  • You can also remove dirt with a wet wipe and then use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your cough and sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hand

Learn more on how to stop the spread of germs.

Household cleaning and disinfection:

  • At least once a day, clean and disinfect (using regular household cleaners) “high-touch” surfaces that you touch often, like counters, sink tap handles, toilets, bedside tables, doorknobs, phones and television remotes.
  • Do not share personal items with others, such as toothbrushes, towels, bed linen, utensils or electronic devices.
  • Put the lid of the toilet down before flushing.
  • Clean more often if surfaces become visibly soiled.
  • 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 enough cleaning.

Waste management:

  • All waste generated can be bagged in a regular plastic bag and disposed of in regular household waste.

Mental health and wellness:

This is a difficult and challenging time for everyone. It’s ok to not be ok. Reach out to the Distress Centre of Ottawa to connect with someone at 613-238-3311 if you need help or are having trouble coping. For more resources, visit our mental health page.

Supplies to have at home when self-isolating:

  • Masks (medical or cloth), only if you have symptoms and the rest of the people at home do not have symptoms
  • Eye protection (face shield or goggles) for use by caregiver
  • Disposable gloves (do not re-use) for use by caregiver
  • Disposable paper towels
  • Tissues
  • Waste container with plastic liner
  • Thermometer
  • Over the counter medication to reduce fever (e.g., acetaminophen)
  • Running water
  • Hand soap
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol
  • Dish soap
  • Regular laundry soap
  • Regular household cleaning products
  • Hard-surface disinfectant, or if not available, make a solution of concentrated (5%) liquid bleach and water by mixing 10 mL of bleach with 1 litre of water (2 tsp of bleach with 4 cups of water).

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