Main Page Content

The best way to prevent illness from COVID-19 and to lower the risk of spreading it to others is to avoid exposure to the virus.  The actions you take to protect yourself against COVID-19 are the same to prevent other respiratory illnesses, such as the flu, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cough and sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue. Dispose of tissue immediately and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched. Avoid sharing personal items such as cups and towels.
  • Limit your contacts to your household only.

  • Stay home, when possible. Stick to essential trips only.
  • Self-monitor for symptoms and stay home when you are sick.
  • Stay home if someone in your house is sick or has symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • If you are at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 (i.e. older adults, those with chronic underlying medical conditions, people with compromised immune systems), consider staying apart from others and getting food and medications delivered by family members or delivery services.
  • Practice physical distancing by staying at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from others.
  • Wear a non-medical mask or face covering in public settings and when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Create an emergency preparedness plan to ensure you have what you need in case of self-isolation.
  • Get the COVID-19 Vaccine when you are eligible.

Self-Monitor for COVID-19 Symptoms

To help stop the spread of COVID-19, it is important to regularly monitor yourself for symptoms and to stay home when you (or someone in your household) are ill.

Self-monitoring means to:

  • Check yourself daily for one or more symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Self-monitoring is even more important if you work or interact with vulnerable groups such as older adults or those who are immunocompromised.
  • You may leave your home for essential trips (work, groceries, picking up medication).

If you develop any symptoms of COVID-19, isolate yourself from others immediately and take the online self-assessment to determine next steps. Other people in your household should stay home as well.

Learn how to self-monitor by visiting Public Health Ontario’s instructions on How to Self-Monitor.

Instructions on how to self-monitor are also available in:

FrenchArabic  | Bengali  | Simplified Chinese  | Traditional Chinese  | Eastern Ojibwe  | Farsi  | German  | Greek  | Gujarati  | Hindi  | Italian  | Japanese  | Korean  | Mohawk  | Oji-Cree  | Polish  | Portuguese  | Punjabi  | Romanian  | Russian  | Somali  | Spanish  | Swampy Cree  | Tagalog  | Tamil  | Ukrainian  | Urdu  | Vietnamese


Practicing Physical Distancing

Physical distancing means limiting the number of people you come into close contact with and maintaining a distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from others.

Other ways you can practice physical distancing:

  • Work from home, if possible, and host meetings virtually (video or teleconferencing)
  • Cancel or postpone gatherings that exceed current gathering limits, and host virtual gatherings instead
  • Connect with friends by phone or video chat online
  • Greet others with a wave, a bow, or a nod (in place of handshakes or hugs)
  • Exercise indoors with yoga or aerobics at home
  • If you need to leave the home for essential trips (e.g., grocery stores, work):
    • Sanitize or wash your hands when entering and exiting buildings
    • Avoid long lineups
    • Use tap to pay rather than handling money
  • When taking public transit:
    • Wear a mask or face covering
    • Avoid prolonged close contact with others
    • Travel during non-peak hours, if possible
    • Take shorter trips rather than one long trip

Learn how to practice physical distancing by visiting Public Health Ontario’s instructions on Physical Distancing| FR


Limit Close Contacts

Limiting the number of people outside your household that you have close contact with will lower the number of people you could spread COVID-19 to, or spread to you. Always follow the current guidelines for social gatherings as well as other public health guidance to protect you and your family.

What is a close contact?

Someone who was within 2 metres (6 feet) from a positive case for 15 minutes (or all interactions add up to 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period), regardless of whether the positive case or the close contact are wearing a mask
OR who lives with or provides care for a positive case in the same house.
OR who has had direct physical contact (i.e. hug, handshake, etc.) with a positive case.
OR who was sneezed or coughed on while in close proximity to a positive case.

Workplace contacts, including healthcare settings and school or child care settings: someone who was within 2 metres (6 feet) from a positive case for 15 minutes (or total interactions in a 24-hour period add up to 15 minutes ore more), and the positive case and close contact are wearing masks, but the close contact did NOT have eye protection
OR was within 2 metres (6 feet) from a positive case for any length of time when the positive case was NOT wearing a mask, and the close contact is NOT wearing both a mask AND eye protection.
OR was within 2 metres (6 feet) from a positive case for any length of time when the close contact was NOT wearing a mask, even if the positive case is wearing a mask (medical or non-medical).


Self-Isolate, if Required

You must isolate yourself from others if you have:

  • Tested positive for COVID-19,
  • Symptoms of COVID-19,
  •  Been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting test results,
  • Or may have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19,
  • Been identified in a high-risk outbreak setting as identified by the Health Unit; 
  • Received a notification from the COVID Alert app.

Learn when to self-isolate for household members by visiting Public Health Ontario’s instructions on When to Self-Isolate for Household Members | FR

How to Self-Isolate:

  • Stay home, only leave the house for medical needs (e.g., medical appointment or COVID-19 testing)
  • Avoid contact with others
  • Keep your distance from others
  • Wash your hands often
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth

Learn how to self-isolate by visiting Public Health Ontario’s instructions on How to Self-Isolate.

Instructions on how to self-isolate are also available in:

FrenchArabic  | Bengali  | Simplified Chinese  | Traditional Chinese  | Eastern Ojibwe  | Farsi  | German  | Greek  | Gujarati  | Hindi  | Italian  | Japanese  | Korean  | Mohawk  | Oji-Cree  | Polish  | Portuguese  | Punjabi  | Romanian  | Russian  | Somali  | Spanish  | Swampy Cree  | Tagalog  | Tamil  | Ukrainian  | Urdu  | Vietnamese 

Additional Resources:
Ontario Ministry of Health - Self-Isolation for COVID-19 Cases or Other Individuals in the Household


Guidance for caregivers, household members and close contacts

What is a Household Contact?

Household contacts include those who live with or have similar interactions (e.g. provide care for) with someone who has been exposed to COVID-19. This may include members of an extended family, roommates, boarders, ‘couch surfers’, etc. Does not include those living in separate congregate living settings (e.g. separate basement apartment).

If you are caring for or living with someone who has COVID-19 or symptoms:

  • Self-isolate at home, only leave the house if you need to get tested for COVID-19 or require emergency medical care
  • Wash your hands often
  • Wear mask, gloves and eye protection
  • Dispose of gloves and mask after use
  • Limit visitors in your home to only essential visitors (e.g., care providers, medical providers)
  • Avoid sharing household items (e.g., hand towels, clothing)
  • Clean often
  • Wash laundry thoroughly
  • Be careful when touching waste

Learn how to care for a child who needs to self-isolate by visiting Public Health Ontario’s instructions on How To Care For A Child Who Needs to Self-Isolate | FR

Learn when to self-isolate for household members by visiting Public Health Ontario’s instructions on When to Self-Isolate for Household Members | FR

Follow Public Health Ontario’s Guide for caregivers, household members and close contacts.

Guidance for caregivers, household members and close contacts is available in:

FrenchArabic  | Bengali  | Simplified Chinese  | Traditional Chinese  | Eastern Ojibwe  | Farsi  | German  | Greek  | Gujarati  | Hindi  | Italian  | Japanese  | Korean  | Mohawk  | Oji-Cree  | Polish  | Portuguese  | Punjabi  | Romanian  | Russian  | Somali  | Spanish  | Swampy Cree  | Tagalog  | Tamil  | Ukrainian  | Urdu  | Vietnamese

Additional Resources:
Ontario Ministry of Health –Self-Isolation for COVID-19 Cases or Other Individuals in the Household

Related Content: