Why We Need to Isolate or Quarantine
Isolating and quarantining help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by reducing the number of people you could infect if you’re sick. Both require staying home and avoiding situations where the virus could spread.
COVID-19 can take up to 14 days to cause symptoms. Some people who get it only have minor symptom or don’t have any symptoms at all but could still be infectious.
By staying home, it lowers the chance of symptoms developing while you’re in a public place, which lowers the chance of spreading the virus to others.
|When to isolate
Isolate to avoid spreading illness.
*Children under 18 are exempt from mandatory isolation for runny nose or sore throat, but should stay home until well
|When to quarantine
Quarantine and watch for symptoms to prevent exposing others before symptoms appear.
These restrictions must be followed if you are in mandatory isolation or quarantine.
- Stay home – do not leave your home or attend work, school, social events or any other public gatherings.
- Avoid close contact with people in your household, especially seniors and people with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.
- Do not take public transportation like buses, taxis or ride-sharing – this is prohibited.
- Do not go outside for a walk through your neighbourhood or park. This includes children in mandatory isolation or quarantine.
- Do not use elevators or stairwells if you live in an apartment building or highrise, you must stay inside your unit. If your balcony is private and at least 2 metres away from your closest neighbour’s, you may go outside on the balcony.
- Get fresh air in your backyard, if you have one, but you must remain on private property not accessible by others.
Leaving isolation for emergency care
If you are in mandatory isolation or quarantine needs to leave home to receive COVID-19 testing, emergency care, or critical care for pre-existing medical conditions, follow the rules in the exemption orders carefully:
- pre-arrange your appointment and leave your isolation area only on the date and at the time of your appointment
- follow all instructions provided by 811 or health-care providers
- use private transportation where practical
- maintain physical distance from others when shared transportation is necessary – travel directly to your appointment with no stops
- follow instructions provided by 911 if you require emergency care
Who Needs to Isolate or Quarantine
Adults over 18 are legally required to isolate for a minimum of 10 days if they have the following core symptoms that are not related to a pre-existing illness or health condition:
- shortness of breath
- runny nose
- sore throat
Children under 18 are exempt from mandatory isolation for having a runny nose or sore throat, but should stay home until well. Children are required to isolate for at least 10 days if they have the following core symptoms:
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- loss of sense of taste or smell
The mandatory isolation period is 10 days from the start of symptoms, or until symptoms resolve, whichever takes longer.