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The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus and to lower the risk of spreading it to others. 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.
  • Stay home, when possible. Stick to essential trips only, and limit contact with people outside of your household.
  • 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 when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Create an emergency preparedness plan to ensure you have what you need in case of self-isolation.

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), but you should practice physical distancing from others, whenever possible, and wear face covering or mask in when physical distancing is not possible.

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 sty 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 limit small gatherings
  • 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 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.

Individuals who live alone may consider having close contact with one other household.


Self-Isolate, if Required

You must isolate yourself from others if:

  • You have COVID-19, or
  • You have COVID-19 symptoms, or
  • You have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting test results, or
  • You have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, or
  • Someone in your household has symptoms of COVID-19, or
  • Someone in your household has symptoms and is awaiting their test results, or
  • You have travelled outside of Canada within the past 14 days, or
  • You received a notification from the COVID Alert app and you are awaiting test results.

Note: If a member of your household has been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, and have no symptoms, they must stay home other than for medical needs. Other members of the house can leave for essential trips only (e.g., work, school, groceries, medical needs). No one should go to social events, or go to stores for non-essential items.

If a member of your household has symptoms of COVID-19, other members of the house should only leave the house for medical needs (e.g., medical appointment or COVID-19 testing).

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 in your home, as much as possible
  • 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 

Guidance for caregivers, household members and close contacts

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

  • Self-isolate at home, do not leave unless for medical appointments or to get a COVID-19 test
  • 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

Note: If you are unable to keep physical distance from someone with COVID-19 (e.g., caring for a child or high-needs individual), you will need to continue isolating for 10 days after their isolation period ends.

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

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