The following recommendations will help to keep our community safe when you or someone you have been in contact with has received a positive test result. The self-isolation recommendations are different for those who have COVID-19 and the people they have been in contact with (high-risk contacts).
If you received a positive COVID-19 result from a health care provider or through the provincial portal, you must self-isolate for 10 days.
If you had symptoms when you were tested or developed symptoms within one week after your test, self-isolate for 10 days from the time your symptoms developed. For example, if you developed a sore throat on Jan. 1. and you were tested on Jan. 3, you should remain in self-isolation until midnight on Jan. 11.
If you did not have symptoms when you were tested and did not develop symptoms within one week after your test, self-isolate for 10 days from the day you were tested.
It's best if you self-isolate away from your household members immediately. A large proportion of household members will become sick if there's a COVID-19 case in the home. If you can self-isolate at another location away from the household, that is strongly recommended. Otherwise, self-isolate in a separate part of the house with a separate bathroom and bedroom if possible. Review the self-isolation recommendations.
Tell everyone in your home that they must self-isolate for 14 days from their last exposure to you. This means they cannot leave the house to go to work or school, or run errands.
For example, you received your positive result Jan. 10. If you began to self-isolate away from your family members when you received your positive result, your household members are recommended to self-isolate until midnight on Jan. 24 - fourteen days from their last exposure to the positive case.
If you need medical attention, call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 or your primary care provider, and tell them that you're COVID-19 positive.
If you require urgent medical attention, call 911 and tell them that you're COVID-19 positive.
You can spread the virus to others 48 hours before you develop symptoms. If you don't have symptoms, consider yourself infectious for 48 hours before your test.
Tell your high-risk contacts to:
If they develop symptoms before 10 days, advise them to be tested sooner. They can book an appointment online for testing. If they test positive, they will need to change their self-isolation dates and self-isolate for 10 days from the day they developed symptoms or receive a positive test result.
If you worked while you were infectious, tell Public Health. With your consent, Niagara Region Public Health will reach out to your employer to identify your close contacts.
Your employer can also email Public Health inspectors if they want to talk to a health inspector about cleaning and reducing further infections at the workplace. For more information, visit workplace COVID-19 exposures and outbreaks.
Visit COVID-19 in the workplace for more information on how employers and employees can reduce the community spread of COVID-19.
Generally, a high-risk exposure is defined as being within two metres of the infectious person for 15 minutes or more, or having direct physical contact with them. A contact may still be high-risk even with less than 15 minutes of close contact, or being further than two metres away, if:
See our Community Exposure Assessment for more details.
If in doubt, it's best to self-isolate to protect your household, family, friends, and community. Due to capacity limitations, Public Health may not be able to follow-up directly with all contacts. However, Public Health will follow-up with all cases and will provide further direction about contacts to them.
If you're a close contact, you must self-isolate for 14 days.
You will need to self-isolate from the time that you were last in close contact with the positive case. Someone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be infectious from 48 hours before, and for the 10 days following the onset of their symptoms. If someone who tests positive for COVID-19 doesn't have symptoms, they are considered infectious for 48 hours before testing.
For example, if you had dinner with someone on Jan. 1 who later called you and said they tested positive and developed symptoms on Jan. 3, you will need to self-isolate until midnight on Jan. 15.
Review the self-isolation recommendations.
If a person has had a high-risk exposure but is fully vaccinated, for example, it has been more than two weeks since receiving their second dose, they may not need to self-isolate unless they become symptomatic. Testing on day 10 after the last exposure is strongly recommended or sooner if they become symptomatic.
Tell everyone in your home that you will need to self-isolate for 14 days. It's important that you self-isolate away from other members of your family. If you can self-isolate at another location or in a separate part of the house with a separate bathroom and bedroom, that is best.
If you have or develop symptoms, everyone you live with must stay home and not leave the house for work or school until you are tested and receive your results
If you don't have symptoms, others in your home can continue to go to work and school
Book an appointment online for testing. Everyone you live with must stay home until you're tested and receive your results.
If your test results are negative, you must continue to isolate for the full 14 days from your last contact with the case. Other household members can return to work and school.
Even with negative test results you must continue to self-isolate because you may be incubating the virus. This means you can still develop COVID-19 after receiving a negative test result. If you develop new or worsening symptoms, you should repeat the test.
If your test results are positive, your self-isolation end date will change.
For example, you were in contact with a positive case on Jan. 1. While self-isolating, you developed symptoms on Jan. 6. You arranged for testing when you developed symptoms and have received a positive test result. You're now required to extend your self-isolation period for an additional 10 full days past the day you started to develop symptoms. This means you will need to self-isolate until midnight on Jan. 17.
It's recommended that you get tested ten days after your exposure to the positive case as you may be positive even without symptoms. Book an appointment online for testing.
If your test results are positive, you will need to extend your self-isolation date.
For example, you never develop symptoms and you're tested on day 10 as recommended. If you receive a positive test result extend your self-isolation period to 10 full days past the day you were tested. So, if you were tested on Jan. 10, you would need to self-isolate until midnight on Jan. 21.
Don't have visitors unless it's essential, such as health care providers. If arranging for delivery of groceries and other necessities, have the person leave them at the door so that you don't put them at risk.
Practise physical distancing, hand hygiene, and regular cleaning and disinfecting.
Follow these steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.