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COVID-19 Self-Isolation Guide

Instructions for caregivers, household members, and close contacts

If you are being tested for COVID-19 or have tested positive for COVID-19 it is important that you do NOT leave your house. Self-isolation requires that you do not go out into public places and that you follow the guidelines below to prevent spread of the virus. If you are caring for or living with someone who has the virus, you are considered a “close contact”. Your local public health unit will give you special instructions about how to monitor your own health, what to do if you start to feel sick and how to contact them. Be sure to tell health care providers that you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19.

Follow these guidelines when self-isolating to help minimize the spread of COVID-19:

Wash your hands often

  • Wash your hands with soap and water after each contact with the infected person.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Wear mask and gloves

  • Wear a mask and gloves when you have contact with the person’s saliva or other body fluids (e.g. blood, sweat, saliva, vomit, urine and feces).

Dispose of gloves and mask after use

  • Take the gloves and mask off right after you provide care and dispose of them in the wastebasket lined with the plastic bag.
  • Take off the gloves first and clean your hands with soap and water before taking off your mask.
  • Clean your hands again with soap and water before touching your face or doing anything else.

Limit the number of visitors in your home

  • Only have visitors who you must see and keep the visits short.
  • Keep seniors and people with chronic medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, lung problems, and immune deficiency) away from the infected person.


  • Clean your home with regular household cleaners.
  • Clean regularly touched items such as toilets, sink tap handles, doorknobs and bedside tables on a daily basis.

Avoid sharing household items

  • Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding or other items with the person under investigation.
  • After use, these items should be washed with soap or detergent in warm water. No special soap is needed.
  • Dishwashers and washing machines can be used.
  • Do not share cigarettes.

Be careful when touching waste

  • All waste can go into regular garbage bins.
  • When emptying wastebaskets, take care to not touch used tissues with your hands. Lining the wastebasket with a plastic bag makes waste disposal easier and safer.
  • Clean your hands with soap and water after emptying the wastebasket.

Wash laundry thoroughly

  • There is no need to separate the laundry, but you should wear gloves when handling.
  • Clean your hands with soap and water immediately after removing your gloves.

Release from Isolation

You may stop your isolation ONLY after the following:

  • 7 Days after the first onset of symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath)
  • 72 hours:
    • Without Fever (with no fever medication)
    • Improvement of cough
    • No shortness of breath

If you were tested for COVID-19, you will be contacted by your provider and/or the Health Department with your test results.

Download a PDF of this isolation guide

Download a PDF of this isolation guide in spanish

Visit our coronavirus information page for instructions on what to do if you're starting to exhibit symptoms of COVID-19