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Close contacts and contact tracing

Learn what you need to do if you have been in close contact with someone who tested positive or has symptoms of COVID-19.

Last updated: September 28, 2022


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Close contacts of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19 do not need to self-isolate.

Monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19 and follow relevant public health measures and PHO orders.

Who is considered a “close contact”

A close contact is generally someone who has been near a person with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes when health and safety measures were not in place or were insufficient.

With the spread of the more transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19, there has been an increase in COVID-19 in our communities and many people will be exposed to COVID-19.

Whether notified of a COVID-19 exposure or not, everyone should routinely monitor symptoms of COVID-19 and stay home if you feel unwell or develop symptoms.

Closecontatcs_image.PNGInstructions for close contacts


Self-monitoring

Close contacts do not need to self-isolate. You should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 even if you are fully vaccinated or had COVID-19 in the last 90 days.

If you have no symptoms of COVID-19, you do not need a test.

Learn more about self-monitoring and self-isolation.

What to do if you develop symptoms

If symptoms develop:

Learn more about self-monitoring and self-isolation.

Common questions


If you are not showing any symptoms of COVID-19, you do not need to be tested, unless you are asked to by Public Health. 


It can take several days from the last time you were exposed to someone who has COVID-19 for symptoms to develop or to have enough virus in your body for a test to detect COVID-19.


If you develop any symptoms of COVID-19, use the COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to determine if you need a test.

If you live with someone who has COVID-19, read about caring for someone with COVID-19 to learn about what you should do to reduce the spread of the virus. 

Our cleaning and disinfecting document has detailed information on how to prevent the spread of illness, including COVID-19, while keeping you safe from harsh chemicals and/or chemicals that are not effective.


If you live with someone who is a close contact, there are steps you can take to limit the potential spread of COVID-19 to others in case that person gets sick with COVID-19. You may want to limit your contact with people who have a greater chance of getting very sick from COVID-19 such as older people, immunocompromised people, and people with some chronic diseases. 

Consider cleaning and disinfecting your home more often – the cleaning and disinfecting page has detailed information on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while keeping you safe from harsh chemicals and/or chemicals that are not effective.


If a parent or sibling has symptoms of COVID-19 or tested positive for COVID-19, household contacts should monitor for symptoms. They do not need to stay home.
 
Everyone should be paying attention to how they feel. If a child has a mild illness, they should stay away from school or child care settings until they are well enough to return to regular activities. 

If their symptoms persist or worsen, contact their care provider. Call 9-1-1 or go to the hospital or Urgent Primary Care Centre if their symptoms become severe.

While your colleague may have been exposed, you are not a close contact. Regardless of vaccination status or exposure, everyone should be paying attention to how they feel. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 it is important to stay home until your symptoms have improved and check the self-assessment tool to see if you should get a test.



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