Guidance for testing positive and close contacts

Updated December 15 2022

Testing Positive

Positive cases must isolate immediately.

CONFIRMED CASE

If you test positive on a COVID-19 test (whether self-administered, verified or supervised antigen or a PCR test), by law, you must isolate immediately.

You must follow the relevant guidance below:

Whether you are fully immunised or not :

  • Isolate for 5 days from the first day of COVID-19 symptoms or the date of your positive test sample(if you have no symptoms)  - (the date of your positive test sample or onset of symptoms is day zero)

No Symptoms at Day 5?

  • If at Day 5, you have had no symptoms for at least 2 days, take a verified/supervised/self-administered antigen test for Day 5
  • If you have no symptoms and the Day 5 test is negative, stay isolated and take a verified/supervised/self-administered antigen test for Day 6
  • If you have no symptoms and the Day 6 test is negative, end isolation and follow public health guidance.

Symptoms at Day 5?

  • If you have symptoms at Day 5, stay isolated until Day 7

No Symptoms at Day 7

  • If at Day 7, you have had no symptoms for 2 days, take a verified or supervised antigen test for Day 7
  • If you have no symptoms and the Day 7 test is negative, end isolation and follow public health guidance.

Symptoms or test positive at Day 7?

  • If at Day 7,you continue to have symptoms or test positive, stay isolated until you have not had symptoms for at least 2 days and have one negative verified/supervised/self-administered antigen test.

Symptoms or test positive at Day 14?

  • If you continue to have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 up until Day 14,see your doctor, who will advise you when to end isolation.

 

CLOSE CONTACTS

If you are a close contact of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19,you are not required to quarantine.

However ,to prevent spreading COVID-19 unknowingly to others, the Ministry of Health recommends the guidance below:

  • Immediately take a self-administered, verified or supervised antigen test.

Positive COVID-19 antigen test?

  • If your COVID-19 antigen test is positive, follow the guidance for a COVID-19 case above.

Negative COVID-19 antigen test and Symptoms?

  • Isolate for 5 days from the first day of COVID-19 symptoms.
  • End isolation when you have had no symptoms for 2 days and have one negative verified/supervised/self-administered antigen test after symptoms resolve.

Negative COVID-19 test and No Symptoms

  • No Quarantine required.
  • Monitor your health and take a self-administered/verified/supervised antigen test for 7 days
  • Consider wearing a mask when around others.

Why and When to Quarantine?

Unless instructed otherwise, it is important for persons who test positive for COVID-19 to quarantine, as it helps avoid putting others at risk of catching the virus and spreading it throughout the wider community. Persons become infectious and can spread the virus to others 2 days before their symptoms start and up to 7 days before their positive test result if the positive person does not have any symptoms.

If you begin to feel ill you must contact your doctor for advice and support.

COVID-19 symptoms to look out for may include any of the following (among others):

  • Fever (100.4◦F) or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • New confusion

If symptoms are particularly severe, such as persistent pain or pressure in the chest, trouble breathing, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face, it is advised that you seek emergency medical care immediately by calling 911. Be sure to notify the operator that you seek care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.

Tips for caring for yourself while in quarantine:

  • Stay in a separate room and avoid sharing other rooms (e.g. bathrooms, kitchen, common areas)
  • Wear a mask (covering nose and mouth) if you must be around other persons or pets within your household
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and immediately wash your hands after or use hand sanitiser
  • Throw away used tissues in a lined trash can
  • Avoid sharing personal household items, such as dishes, cups, utensils, towels, bedding etc.
  • Clean and disinfect (regularly) any items you do use
  • Clean and disinfect (regularly) any frequently touched surfaces (including those that may be in the rooms that only you use), such as phones, remote controls, counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables (among others)  
  • Find ways to pass the time such as reading, video-chats, watching movies, exercise, yoga, etc. while in your quarantine space.
  • Make arrangements with family, friends, or delivery services to have food and supplies delivered to your door if needed.
  • Do not let others enter into your separate space.

Tips for caring for others quarantining in your household:

  • Limit contact
  • Eat in separate areas
  • Avoid sharing personal items
  • Wear a mask (covering nose and mouth) and disposable gloves if/when you must be around each other or come into contact with their (or shared) items or surfaces. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after gloves are removed
  • NOTE: Masks should not be placed on young children under age 2 years, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is not able to remove the mask without help
  • Clean your hands often
  • Monitor your own health as well
  • If they are sick, help them follow their doctor’s instructions for care and medicine
  • If they are sick, make sure they rest and drink a lot of fluids
  • Help them with grocery shopping, filling prescriptions, and getting other items they may need. Consider having the items delivered through a delivery service, if possible. Leave supplies at the door
  • Take care of their pet(s), and limit contact between the person who is sick and their pet(s) when possible
  • Have their doctor’s phone number on hand
  • For medical emergencies, call 911 and tell the dispatcher that the person has or might have COVID-19

See 'How to Quarantine one Child in a Multi-Sibling Household' for further guidance.

Click here for clarification regarding the difference between the terms 'physical distance', 'quarantine' and 'isolation'.

What is Contact Tracing?

By identifying and limiting contacts of people infected or exposed to COVID-19, the virus stops spreading and the community stays safe.

 

  • Close contacts: Many factors are considered when determining who is a close contact, depending on the specific circumstances. Such factors include having direct physical contact with an infected person or spending more than 15 minutes of face-to-face contact within six feet of an infected person in any setting.

Learn more about contact tracing here.

Contact Tracing Requires Your Help

  • The purpose of sharing information when requested is to assist with controlling the spread of the virus in the community. This helps protect you, your family, friends and co-workers.
  • Information shared with your contact tracer will be kept private and confidential.
  • Contact tracers ask many questions to track your activities and identify persons who may have been exposed to you, to identify those who are possibly infected with COVID-19 and to find where you were exposed.
  • One way you can help keep our community safe is to be sure to enter the date, time, your full name, phone number and email in the log books at establishments you visit, as this is an important way for the contact tracing team to reach out to you if you are exposed.
  • The contact tracing team will help you determine your risk and guide you to safely quarantine and protect your family if necessary

Effective September 18 2021, there will be an automated notification email process for notifying COVID positive patients and named close contacts of their status and their need to isolate or quarantine.

When a test result comes back positive, persons will be notified via the email address provided on their test booking. The notification email will include necessary information on the steps the person who tested must take with respect to isolation and other matters. It will also include a link to an online form that allows the positive person to list off their close contacts, so they can be notified as well about their exposure, without disclosing who the positive person is.

This new automated notification email process replaces a manual process of phone calls and emails that the contact tracing team was using to notify positives and close contacts. The automatic email notification will replace the many calls contact tracers must make to ensure residents know they are positive and their close contacts know they have been exposed. 

Please provide an email address on your test booking if you want to benefit from this speedier notification process. If you test positive, please read the entire letter carefully and provide the contact details that are requested.

Positive patients who do not include an email address on their test booking will be notified of their status through a manual notification process which may take longer.

 

With your help, we can prevent further spread of the virus and save more people’s lives.

Further COVID-19 Information

Click here for additional health and well-being guidance. 

Click here for information regarding schools, child care and camps.

Click here for information regarding the workplace.

Click here for information regarding healthcare workers.

Return to COVID-19 homepage here

For emotional support call the Emotional Wellbeing Hotline on 543-1111. The line is operated Monday to Saturday, from 5pm-9pm.