Skip to main content

If you are sick

If you have COVID-19, or think you might have it, help prevent spreading by following the instructions below.

Anyone with symptoms, even mild ones, can get tested for COVID-19. Use the B.C. COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to help determine if you need testing for COVID-19.  You can complete this assessment for yourself, or on behalf of someone else, if they are unable to.

To learn more about COVID-19 testing and find a collection to be tested, go to the Testing page.

How to stop the spread of germs

Self-isolate: Stay home and do not go to work, school or public places and do not use public transit, taxis or ride shares. Do not have visitors to your home.  If you live with other people, avoid contact with others at home by staying and sleeping in a separate room and using a separate bathroom if possible. See these guides about isolation:

See below for details about when you can stop isolating. 

Cover your coughs and sneezes. When you feel a cough or sneeze coming on, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Don't have a tissue? Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands. Wash your hands right away after you sneeze, cough or touch used tissues or masks. Throw used tissues into a lined trash can in your room and tie up that trash bag before adding it with other household waste.

Wash your hands. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. It is best to dry your hands with a paper towel and throw it away after use. If you can't wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Learn more.

Do not share household items. Do not share dishes, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other shared belongings. After using these items, wash them with soap and water.

Flush the toilet with the lid down. The COVID-19 virus may also be present in poop (stool or feces). Always wash your hands with soap and water after using the toilet.

General cleaning. Water and detergent (e.g., liquid dishwashing soap) or common household cleaning wipes should be used. Apply firm pressure while cleaning. Surfaces should be cleaned at least once a day. Next, use a store bought disinfectant or diluted bleach solution, one part bleach to 50 parts water (20ml of bleach to 1 litre of water), and allow the surface to remain wet for one minute. Clean surfaces that are touched often (e.g., counters, table tops, doorknobs, toilets, sinks, taps, etc.) at least twice a day.

Wear a face mask. When you are sick, wearing a face mask (surgical or procedure mask) helps to stop the spread of germs from you to others. Wear a face mask when you are in the same room with other people and when you get medical care. If your mask gets wet or dirty, change it and wash your hands right away. You and those you live with do not need to buy and wear other types of masks, such as an N-95 respirator mask.

Other Resources

If you have COVID-19 or suspect you have it and are breastfeeding, continue to breastfeed. For more information, refer to the following guidance:

If you need medical care

Pay attention to your health and how you are feeling. You can call 8-1-1 anytime to talk to a nurse at HealthLinkBC and get advice about how you are feeling and what to do next. 8-1-1 has translation services in 130 languages.

Urgent medical care means that there is a change in your health that needs medical help right away. If it becomes harder to breathe, you can't drink anything or feel much worse, seek urgent medical care at an urgent care clinic or emergency department. If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.

Call ahead before you get medical care. If leaving your home for medical care, call ahead and tell the clinic you are coming in and that you have symptoms of COVID-19. By calling ahead, you help the clinic, hospital, lab, urgent care or doctor's office prepare for your visit and stop the spread of germs. Remind each health care provider that is taking care of you that you have symptoms of COVID-19.

Ending isolation

If your symptoms can be managed at home, you will need to isolate. Below you will find information about when you can stop isolating.

You’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19

  • Self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days since your symptoms started , AND
  • Your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medications (e.g. Tylenol, Advil), AND
  • You are feeling better (e.g. improvement in runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue).

Coughing may persist for several weeks, so coughing alone does not require you to continue to isolate.

If you became ill after being in contact with a confirmed case or arriving from outside of Canada, self-isolate for 14 days or 10 days after symptoms started, whichever is longer.

You’ve tested negative for COVID-19

  • People who developed symptoms after being exposed to a confirmed case or after arriving from outside of Canada will need to continue to self-isolate for 14 days from the date they landed in Canada or were last exposed.
  • If your symptoms worsen, contact your health care professional or 8-1-1.

Here are some examples

Example 1: You’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19, only had fever at the start and symptoms are gone: you can stop isolating after day 10.

Example 2: You been diagnosed with COVID-19 and still have a fever on day 10 of isolation. On day 12 your fever stops and your symptoms have improved. You can now stop isolating.

Example 3: You were contacted by public health because you were in close contact with a confirmed case and were told to self-isolate for 14 days from when you were in contact with the case. On day 5, you developed symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19. By day 10, your symptoms have resolved but you must continue to self-isolate for 14 days because you are a contact of a confirmed case.

Example 4: Symptoms appear five days after returning to Canada and last only a couple of days. Self-isolate for 10 additional days from when your symptoms appeared for a total of 15 days.

It can be a bit tricky to figure out when your fever has disappeared. It's easier if you keep a note of your temperature and your symptoms every day, so you know when to stop isolating safely.

Sometimes people with COVID-19 have mild illness, but their symptoms may suddenly worsen in a few days. If your symptoms worsen or you become short of breath, call your family physician or nurse practitioner for immediate medical attention. If you are unable to reach your regular care provider, seek care in Urgent & Primary Care Centre or Emergency Department.

Visit the Government of Canada webpage for more details about self-isolating and self-monitoring for incoming travellers.




SOURCE: If you are sick ( )
Page printed: . Unofficial document if printed. Please refer to SOURCE for latest information.

Copyright © BC Centre for Disease Control. All Rights Reserved.

    Copyright © 2020 Provincial Health Services Authority.