Learn about self-isolation and self-monitoring, what to do if you get sick, and how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
People who are contacts of a confirmed case, meaning they have been or could have been exposed to the virus but do not have symptoms, are required to self-isolate.
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 self-isolation dos and don'ts information sheet:
- Stay at home. Do not go to work, school, or public areas, 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, all persons arriving in Canada must self-isolate (quarantine) and monitor for symptoms for 14 days under the Quarantine Act. Learn more on the Government of Canada coronavirus website.
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.
- 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.
- Average normal body temperature taken orally is about 37°C. For more on normal body temperature and fevers, see HealthLinkBC's information for children age 11 and younger and for people age 12 and older.
- 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 or a known exposure to someone with COVID-19, if you have respiratory symptoms that can be managed at home, isolate at home for at least 10 days from the start of any symptoms. If after 10 days, you feel better, your symptoms have improved AND you have had no fever for 72 hours, whichever is later, you may return to regular activities. Coughing may persist for several weeks, so a cough alone does not mean you need to continue to isolate for more than 10 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.