Learn about self-isolation and self-monitoring, what to do if you get sick, and how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
People without symptoms are required to self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms if they:
- Have arrived in B.C. from outside Canada.
- Are contacts of a confirmed case, meaning they have been or could have been exposed to the virus but do not have symptoms.
Self-isolation means staying home and avoiding situations where you could come in contact with others. You may have been exposed to the virus and are at risk for developing COVID-19 and passing it on to others. You may not self-isolate in a place where you will be in contact with vulnerable people, such as seniors and individuals with underlying health conditions.
See the poster for self-isolation dos and don'ts:
- Stay at home. Do not go to work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transport or taxis.
- Wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer often.
- Ask friends or relatives if you require help with buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication. Alternatively, you can order groceries and medication by phone or online.
- Do not have visitors in your home except if they are providing care or delivering goods and supplies, and in that case, maintain a distance of 2 metres.
- Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces.
- Self-isolation can end 14 days after the last contact or return to Canada if you have not developed symptoms.
As of March 25, 2020, self-isolation for people arriving in Canada, by land, sea or air, is mandatory under the Quarantine Act.
While you are self-isolating, you will be required to monitor for new symptoms or signs of coronavirus such as fever, cough, sore throat, etc.
See the poster on self-monitoring:
- Take and record temperature daily and avoid the use of fever reducing medications (e.g., acetaminophen, ibuprofen) as much possible.
- These medications could mask an early symptom of COVID-19; if these medications must be taken, client should advise their healthcare provider.
- Symptoms of COVID-19 are like other respiratory illnesses. Commonly, these are fever/chills, cough, sore throat, and shortness of breath. Shortness of breath and chest pain can be signs of severe illness.
- If you develop symptoms, use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to help determine if you need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. You can complete this assessment for yourself, or on behalf of someone else, if they are unable to.
- After doing the self-assessment tool, if you still have questions, contact your healthcare provider or call 8-1-1 for guidance.
- If the symptoms are severe such as shortness of breath (e.g. struggling to breathe or speak in single words) or chest pain, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest Emergency Department.
With or without a history of travel, if you have respiratory symptoms that can be managed at home, self-isolate at home for at least 10 days after onset of symptoms. After 10 days, if your temperature is normal and you feel better, you can return to your routine activities. Coughing may persist for several weeks, so a cough alone does not mean you need to continue to self-isolate for more than 10 days.
Here are two examples of differing self-isolation periods for returning travellers that develop respiratory symptoms upon their return:
Example 1: Respiratory symptoms appear five days after returning to Canada. Self-isolate for 10 additional days for a total of 15 days.
Example 2: Respiratory symptoms appear two days after returning to Canada. Self-isolate for 10 additional days for a total of 12 days.
For more information, please visit our If you are Sick
It is better if those you live with can stay somewhere else, especially if they have a weak immune system or chronic health conditions. If you need to share a home, stay and sleep in a room with good airflow that is away from others. Use a separate bathroom if you can. Wear a face mask (surgical/procedure mask) if you are in the same room with anyone. Avoid face to face contact; friends or family can drop off food outside your room or home. If you are a caregiver to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or has respiratory symptoms, see this guide.