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Self-isolation

How to properly self-isolate if you have symptoms, have COVID-19, or are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19.

Help is available if you can’t self-isolate at home

We can offer free hotel rooms that are private and safe. Learn about our isolation and recovery program.

What is self-isolation

Self-isolation means temporarily staying apart from others.

It's important to keep a physical distance from others because the virus spreads when we are close to each other and through droplets when we cough, speak, laugh or sing. Self-isolation reduces the chance that others will get sick with COVID-19.

When self-isolating you need to:

Access this video for tips to help you self-isolate properly.

Who must self-isolate

Self-isolation is a requirement for Peel residents as outlined by the Medical Officer of Health. Find out what the Class Order on self-isolation means to you.

You must self-isolate if you:

The length of time you have to self-isolate will depend on your situation. Find out what you should do if you have symptoms, have been exposed to someone who is sick, are diagnosed with COVID-19, attend school or child care, or have travelled outside Canada.

If you're a health care worker or work in a health care facility, follow the occupational health policy at your workplace and refer to our health care workers section for self-isolation guidance.

Other information

Self-isolating at home from those you live with can be difficult. Follow these instructions to help keep everyone at home safe while you self-isolate:

Stay home

  • Do not leave your home for any reason, except if you are attending an appointment for COVID-19 testing or with your health care provider.
  • Do not go outside, unless onto a private balcony or private enclosed yard where you can avoid close contact with any other people.
  • Do not use public transportation, taxis or ride-share services.
  • Shop online or have a friend or family member pick up supplies for you.

Avoid contact with others

  • Stay in a separate room away from other people in your home as much as possible.
  • Use a separate bathroom if you have one. Put the toilet lid down before flushing.
  • Do not have visitors unless they are essential, such as care providers.
  • Stay away from seniors and people with chronic medical conditions (for example, diabetes, lung problems, immune deficiency). They are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19.
  • Make sure that shared rooms have good air flow (open windows).
  • If any of these steps are not possible, always keep a distance of at least 2 metres from others and wear a mask if you can tolerate it.

Keep a distance

  • If you need to be in a room with other people, keep a distance of at least 2 metres and wear a mask that covers your nose, mouth and chin with no gaps.
  • If you cannot wear a mask, people should wear a mask when they are in the same room as you.

Learn how to properly wear a mask.

Wash your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Dry your hands with a paper towel, or with your own cloth towel that no one else shares.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Cover your coughs and sneezes

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hand.
  • Throw used tissues in a lined wastebasket and wash your hands. Lining wastebaskets with a plastic bag makes waste disposal easier and safer.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands after emptying wastebaskets.

Wear a mask over your nose and mouth

  • Wear a mask if you must leave your house to see a health care provider.
  • Wear a mask when you are within 2 metres of other people or stay in a separate room.
  • If you do not have a mask, maintain 2 meters distance from people and cover your coughs and sneezes.

Clean and disinfect thoroughly

  • Clean your home with regular household cleaners.
  • Clean regularly touched items such as toilets, sink tap handles, doorknobs, light switches and bedside tables daily.
  • There is no need to separate your laundry from others, but gloves should be worn when handling laundry of someone with COVID-19.
  • Clean your hands with soap and water immediately after cleaning or doing laundry, even if you wore gloves.
  • Learn more about how to clean and disinfect your home.

After completing self-isolation, regularly follow these tips for cleaning and disinfecting to avoid the spread of COVID-19 in your home.

You can find a summary of this information available in multiple languages.

If you do not have any of the following items at home, use a delivery service or ask a friend or family member from outside of your household to pick them up for you and deliver them to you with no contact.

It's important that you do not leave the home to buy the following items.

Masks (disposable or reusable cloth masks)

Wear a mask if you need to leave the home to seek medical attention. Do not leave the home unless your symptoms worsen, and you need to seek medical attention. If you live with other people and must be in the same room, wear a mask and keep a distance of at least 2 metres.

Thermometer

To be used by family or household members who are self-monitoring. Review the instructions on thermometer use.

Use our daily temperature log to help keep track of your temperature.

Rubbing alcohol or alcohol wipes

For cleaning the thermometer before and after every use.

Hand soap and hand sanitizer

Make sure you have enough hand soap and hand sanitizer to last the length of your self-isolation period.

If you're a caregiver of a person with COVID-19, such as a parent or guardian caring for a sick child, follow these additional safety measures when providing care:

  • Only 1 healthy person should provide care for or self-isolate with the person who has COVID-19.
  • People at higher risk for severe illness (seniors, those with chronic medical conditions or who are immunocompromised) should not care for the sick person.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after each contact with the sick person.
  • Wear a mask, gloves and eye protection (goggles or face shield) if you have contact with the person's saliva or other body fluids and follow proper precautions for disposing of these items.
  • Avoid sharing food, drinks, or personal items with the sick person (towels, bed linen, electronic devices) and use a separate bathroom if possible.

As a caregiver you are considered a close contact of the person who has COVID-19 and must also self-isolate.

Follow the self-isolation guidance for caregivers and find advice from the Government of Canada about how to care for a child with COVID-19 at home. These resources are available in multiple languages.

If someone in your home is self-isolating because they have COVID-19, you're considered a close contact. This means you must:

  • Stay home and do not have contact with anyone outside your household.
  • Avoid contact with the person in your household who has or may have COVID-19 until after they've completed their full self-isolation period, or they meet the requirements to come out of self-isolation.

Help is available for anyone in Peel who can’t safely self-isolate at home.

Our voluntary isolation centre provides a hotel-quality room that’s private and safe. Room amenities include:

  • Private 3-piece bathroom
  • One queen size bed with sofa and/or twin beds
  • Free television
  • WiFi connection
  • Telephone line with extension for assistance
  • 3 meals daily
  • Transportation to and from home is provided

No OHIP health card is required. There is no cost for the program.

Peel Region has established the COVID-19 isolation and recovery program with funding from the Government of Canada.

You can stay for the full 14 days of self-isolation or when you receive a negative COVID-19 test result. Children under the age of 16 will stay with a parent or guardian.

How to sign up

To use the isolation centre you must meet the following criteria:

  • Have tested positive for COVID-19 or may have COVID-19, or are a vulnerable household contact of someone who has COVID-19.
  • Can't safely self-isolate at home away from others in your household.
  • Are 16 years or older (or will stay at the isolation centre with a parent or guardian).
  • Agree to stay at the centre for up to 14 days.
  • Can complete daily activities (such as walking with or without an assistive device, bathing and dressing yourself, eating and drinking) with minimal support or supervision.

You can be referred to this program by hospital staff or public health.

Call Peel Region Human Services 905-281-1269 to sign up or get more details about the program.

If your symptoms change or worsen, you may need to contact a health care professional or get re-tested. If you're concerned and have questions, contact Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 or your health care provider.

Call 911 if you need urgent medical help or if your condition is getting worse and you have any severe symptoms (such as difficulty breathing, chest pain or feeling faint).  Tell paramedics if you have COVID-19, are awaiting test results, or had close contact with a person who has COVID-19. If possible, wear a mask to limit exposure to others.

You're not required to provide a negative test result in order to return to work, school, or other activities.

When you can come out of self-isolation depends on your situation. Check the instructions provided based on your test results.

After completing self-isolation, regularly follow these tips for cleaning and disinfecting to avoid the spread of COVID-19 in your home.

A person who continues to test positive is not infectious, and can return to work or school if:

  • They have completed the recommended self-isolation period.
  • Their symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours and they have no fever without taking medication.

If you're a health care worker or work in a health care facility, follow the occupational health policy at your workplace and refer to our health care workers page for more information on testing and self-isolation guidance.

For more information, learn about when you can return to:

People who are self-isolating can access supports and services to help with daily necessities, such as food and medication deliveries and supports for seniors. Also learn about financial supports that may be available to you.

If you have questions or concerns

If you develop symptoms or your symptoms are worsening and you're concerned, contact Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 or your health care provider.

If you require further information, call Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700, Caledon 905-584-2216. Our call centre hours are 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday.