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Have symptoms or been exposed to COVID-19

What to do if you have symptoms, have been exposed to a person with COVID-19, or if you’ve tested positive.

In Peel, self-isolation is a requirement under the Class Order issued by the Medical Officer of Health under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. Find out what the Class Order on self-isolation means for you.

If you need help deciding if you should get tested for COVID-19, take the online self-assessment.

Are you fully vaccinated?

You are fully vaccinated if:

If you are immunocompromised, you should continue to follow all standard public health direction (e.g., self-isolate after being exposed to a person who has COVID-19), even if you are fully vaccinated. If you have questions, speak to your healthcare provider.

If you have symptoms

If you have symptoms of COVID-19:

Get details about how to self-isolate and resources available to help you.

If you've been exposed

If you’ve been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19, you must self-isolate for 14 days, even if your test result is negative.

If you are fully vaccinated and do not have symptoms, you do not need to self-isolate. You must tell your employer that you are a close contact.

Get detailed instructions for close contacts, including when to get tested, how to properly self-isolate, and next steps for your household members.

If you have COVID-19

Follow these instructions if you have tested positive for COVID-19 even if you are fully vaccinated.

Other information

COVID-19 is a new respiratory virus, that is commonly spread through respiratory particles or by touching something that had the virus on it. Learn more about how COVID-19 spreads.

While some people may experience flu-like symptoms, others may have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. People can spread the virus before they start showing symptoms and can remain infectious for 10 days or longer after their symptoms started.

It's important that you do not ignore symptoms, even if they are mild, to avoid spreading COVID-19.

Common symptoms include:

  • fever
  • new or worsening cough
  • shortness of breath

A range of other symptoms may include:

  • sore throat or trouble swallowing
  • runny nose or stuffy nose
  • new loss of sense of smell or taste
  • nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain
  • not feeling well (tired or sore muscles)
  • headache

Look for symptoms that are new, getting worse, or different than usual for you.

Less common symptoms may occur. Special attention should be paid if they happen in children, seniors, and people living with a developmental disability.

For more information, the Ontario Ministry of Health provides an outline of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, self-isolate and get tested.

In general, close contact means being within 2 metres of a person with COVID-19 for approximately 15 minutes or more of total exposure. This is regardless of whether either person was wearing a mask. A shorter interaction time may also put you at risk in certain circumstances.

If you’re a close contact, you will likely be notified by the person with COVID-19 with whom you came into contact. You may also receive a notification through the COVID Alert app. Public health will contact you and provide you with directions.

What to do if you’re a close contact

If you’re a close contact of someone with COVID-19, you must self-isolate for 14 days, even if your test result is negative unless you are fully vaccinated. Children or those requiring support with daily living can isolate together with a caregiver.

If you are fully vaccinated and do not have any symptoms of COVID-19, you do not need to isolate after you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, but you should still get tested. You must tell your employer that you are a close contact.

Get details about what it means to be fully vaccinated.

Follow these instructions to find out when you should get tested even if you are fully vaccinated.

  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, get tested as soon as possible.
  • If you don’t have symptoms and live with a person with COVID-19, get tested as soon as possible.
  • If you don’t have symptoms and had a 1-time exposure to someone with COVID-19, get tested on or after day 7 since your last exposure to the person with COVID-19.
  • If you were tested earlier than 7 days from your last exposure to the person with COVID-19, repeat the test on or after day 10
  • If you develop COVID-19 symptoms at any time during your isolation period or your symptoms worsen, repeat the test as soon as possible, even if you tested negative before.

Close contacts that are not fully vaccinated may have to self-isolate for more than 14 days in certain situations, such as if they were unable to self-isolate away from the person with COVID-19, if they were re-exposed to COVID-19 during this time, or, if they test positive for COVID-19.

Get details about how to self-isolate and resources available to help you.

Instructions for your household members

The people you live with should also stay home during your 14-day self-isolation period, except for essential reasons such as picking up groceries or prescriptions if they are not fully vaccinated.

During this time:

  • Household members should work from home if possible.
  • Children in your home should not go to school or child care. Learn more about what to do if you have a child attending school or going to child care.
  • If anyone at home develops symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19, everybody in the home that isn’t fully vaccinated, must self-isolate. Everyone should get tested. Do not go to child care, school or work. The person that has symptoms of COVID-19, must isolate and get tested even if they are fully vaccinated.
  • If you’re fully vaccinated and do not have any symptoms of COVID-19, the people you live with do not need to stay at home.

If the people you live with are fully vaccinated and do not have any symptoms, they do not need to stay home.

If you're unsure if you should be tested for COVID-19, speak to a health care provider or take the online self-assessment to help you decide.

If you have symptoms but don't get tested

You must self-isolate for at least 10 days from the start of your symptoms and remain in self-isolation until your symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours and you have no fever (your temperature remains lower than 37.8 C without the use of medication). You must do this even if you are fully vaccinated.

You must not leave your home or go to work or school during this time. Your household contacts must self-isolate for at least 14 days from their last exposure to you unless they are fully vaccinated.  If they are fully vaccinated, they do not need to stay home. If they test positive or have symptoms of COVID-19, they must isolate immediately and get tested.

If you were exposed to a person with COVID-19 but don't get tested

You must self-isolate for at least 14 days after your last exposure to a person with COVID-19 unless you are fully vaccinated.

If you are fully vaccinated and do not have any symptoms of COVID-19, you do not need to isolate. You must tell your employer that you are a close contact.

You may have to self-isolate for more than 14 days in certain situations, such as if you were unable to self-isolate away from the person with COVID-19, if you were re-exposed to COVID-19 during this time, or, if you test positive for COVID-19.

Even if you do not have symptoms, the people you live with should stay home for 14 days from their last exposure to you and self-monitor for symptoms. If you are fully vaccinated and do not have symptoms, the people you live with do not need to stay at home. If anyone in the house develops symptoms, they must self-isolate and arrange to get tested as soon as possible even if they are fully vaccinated.

Find out what to do if you have a child attending school or going to child care.

Peel's requirement to self-isolate

In Peel, self-isolation is a requirement under the Class Order issued by the Medical Officer of Health under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. Find out what the Class Order on self-isolation means for you.

If you travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days: