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Self-Isolation and Self-Monitoring

Information on self-isolation and self-monitoring for people who have been in contact with COVID-19 or who have symptoms or got tested for COVID-19.
Last updated: January 11, 2022
Self-isolation
When you self-isolate, you stay home and keep away from others to help stop the spread of COVID-19. You should self-isolate if:

  • You have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • You are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 and you are not fully vaccinated.
  • You have been asked to self-isolate by public health or because of recent travel.
Self-monitoring

When you self-monitor, you check yourself for symptoms of COVID-19. You must self-monitor if:

  • You are a close contact of someone with COVID-19. 
  • You recently arrived in British Columbia from another country.
Self-isolation
Self-isolation is recommended for people for many different reasons. This page outlines how to self-isolate. 

In general, you should stay home if you feel unwell, even if you do not have COVID-19. This will help prevent the spread of other illnesses, especially during cold and flu season.

How to self-isolate

  • Stay home in your own room or a dedicated area in the home.
  • Do not go to work, school or other public places.
  • Do not have visitors inside unless they are home health care providers.
  • Have family, friends or a delivery service bring food, medication and other supplies to you.
  • Avoid going outside of your home even while you wait for your test results.
  • Continue to wash your hands often and cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow.
  • While you are self-isolating, keep connected with friends or family virtually or over the phone

    • Visit our mental well-being page to learn more about mental well-being support services offered in BC

    • If you have non-health related questions about support services, call Service BC at 1-888-268-4319 (available 7:30 am-8 pm, 7 days a week)

  • Walk, ride a bike, or drive yourself, if possible.
  • If you travel in a car with anyone (in a taxi or a rideshare, or even with someone from your household): 
    • Everyone must wear a mask and roll down all the windows. 
    • Everyone should clean their hands before and after the ride.
  • If you must take public transit: 
    • Wear a mask
    • Clean your hands before and after the ride 
    • Stay 2 metres away from others
  • Let everyone at home know you are self-isolating. 
  • Stay in your own room and use a different bathroom than others, if possible.
  • If you must be in a room with others: 
    • Stay more than 2 metres apart as much as possible.
    • Everyone should wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth and goes under the chin. 
    • Open windows to increase airflow. 
  • Eat alone in the room where you are self-isolating. If you must eat in a shared space, eat by yourself.
  • Everyone should wash hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer. 
  • If you share a bathroom: 
    • Put down the toilet lid before you flush. 
    • Turn on the fan or open the window.
    • Clean handles and faucets after each use. 
    • Avoid sharing personal items like toothbrushes and towels 
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces such as door handles, light switches, faucets, phones, computers and remote controls.
 


Self-monitoring

Self-monitoring is when you check yourself or your dependents for symptoms of COVID-19. You may be asked to self-monitor if you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 or have travelled outside of Canada. 

How to self-monitor:

  • Watch closely for symptoms of COVID-19, even mild ones.
  • Record your temperature every day. 
    • Taking medicine that reduces fever (e.g. Tylenol, Advil) may hide symptoms so avoid taking them if possible.
  • If you get symptoms, self-isolate right away and check our testing page to see if you need to get tested.

How long

There are three scenarios in which you may need to self-isolate or self-monitor. Click on the scenario that matches your situation to see how long to self-isolate or self-monitor.

Scenario 1: I have COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19 

Start your self-isolation right away if you have a positive test or symptoms of COVID-19. The length of time you will need to self-isolate depends on your situation and if you need to get tested. 

What to do if you have symptoms compatible with COVID-19:

Follow the instructions on how to self-isolate.

  • If your symptoms are severe (e.g., difficulty breathing), call 9-1-1 or visit the nearest emergency department.
  • Remember the date when you first had symptoms. This will help figure out how long you need to self-isolate.

Figure out whether you need to get tested by visiting our testing page.


If testing is not recommended:

  • Self-isolate until you feel well enough to return to regular activities and no longer have fever (without the use of medicines that reduce fever-like Tylenol or Advil).
  • If you feel worse, call 8-1-1 or your medical care provider.

If testing is recommended:

  • Find the nearest testing centre.
  • Walk or drive yourself if you can or have someone drive you. Wear a mask and keep car windows down if possible. See instructions on How to Self-Isolate.
  • Continue to self-isolate until you get your test results and follow instructions from public health.
 
Self-isolate for the length of time recommended by public health.

If you tested positive:
  • If fully vaccinated, self-isolate for at least 5 days since the start of your symptoms. Wear a mask even in settings where a mask isn’t required and avoid higher risk settings, such as long term care facilities and gatherings, for another 5 days after ending isolation.
  • If unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, self-isolate for at least 10 days since the start of your symptoms.
  • If you don’t feel better after the 5 or 10 days, keep self-isolating until you feel better and your fever is gone (without taking medicine that reduces fever). 
  • If you feel worse, call 8-1-1 or your medical care provider. 
If you tested negative:
  • Self-isolate until your symptoms improve and you feel well enough to return to regular activities.
  • If you had a fever, stay home until the fever is gone (without taking medicine that reduces fever).
  • Close contacts: If you were identified as a close contact and need to self-isolate, you still need to complete your self-isolation.
 

Scenario 2: I am a close contact

If identified as a close contact, you will need to:

  • Self-monitor for symptoms for 10 days after being exposed to a person with COVID-19.
  • Those who are not fully vaccinated also need to self-isolate for 10 days.

If you need to self-isolate, it is very important to complete your entire self-isolation period, even if your COVID-19 test is negative. You may still be able to spread COVID-19 during this time, even if you don’t have symptoms.


‎You may be told by public health if you are a close contact. In some situations, contacts may be told directly by the COVID-19 case. Caregivers, parents, household members, roommates, intimate partners, and co-workers can be close contacts. 


See the page on Close Contacts for more information. 

If you are fully vaccinated or have had a positive COVID-19 test in the last 3 months, you need to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and avoid non-essential high-risk settings for 10 days. You do not need to self-isolate.

If you are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, you need to self-monitor and self-isolate for 10 days since you last had contact with a person with COVID-19.


Fully vaccinated means you received both doses of a 2-dose series (e.g. AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna vaccine) or it has been more than 14 days since you received a single dose of a 1-dose series (e.g. Janssen/ Johnson and Johnson).

 

The length of self-isolation could be extended if another person in your household tests positive while you are already self-isolating. 


For example, you start self-isolating for 10 days because you were a close contact. On day 6 of your self-isolation, a person inside your household gets sick with COVID-19. You are now a close contact of this person and you must self-isolate for another 10 days starting from this most recent exposure. This means that your self-isolation period is now a total of 16 days from when you originally started.

 
Scenario 3: I travelled outside of Canada

Travellers entering Canada must follow federal testing and quarantine requirements.

If you are not vaccinated or partially vaccinated you are not exempt and need to follow the mandatory quarantine requirements and self-isolate for 14 days or longer upon arrival. This includes if you tested negative for COVID-19.


Follow the instructions provided by the Government of Canada.


 

If you are an eligible fully vaccinated traveller check the Government of Canada’s Quarantine or Isolation guidance to see if you need to quarantine or self-isolate after returning to Canada. Learn more.


Some people are not required to quarantine or complete a test upon entering Canada. This includes eligible fully vaccinated travellers, some children and dependents, and others. Check the list to understand if you need to quarantine.


Visit the Government of Canada's website for more details about:

Completing the ArriveCAN application before entering Canada and submitting a daily COVID-19 Self-Assessment. 

 
 










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