Quarantine & Contact Tracing

Updated July 26th 2021

Once  a person is identified as being exposed or has a positive covid -19 test they will be contacted by a contact tracer. 

Why and when to Quarantine?

Unless instructed otherwise, it is important for persons to quarantine if they have or may have been exposed to COVID-19, as it helps avoid putting others at risk of catching the virus and spreading it throughout the wider community. After exposure it may take up to 14 days before infection develops. 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 do 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
  • Diarrhea
  • 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 are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.

How to Quarantine?

Covid-19 Quarantine Personal Guidance

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 sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer 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 sanitizer
  • 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 room(s) 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.

Participate in Contact Tracing and help STOP COVID-19


'Close Contact' vs 'Casual Contact'

  • 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.
  • Casual contacts: Many factors are considered when determining who is a casual contact, depending on the specific circumstances. Such factors include spending less than 15 minutes of face-to-face contact within six feet of an infected person in any setting.
  • Learn more about the terms 'close contact' and 'casual contact' here.

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

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.