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Case and Contact Tracing

*NEW* The province has announced significant changes to case and contact management for COVID-19. See the details in this document – Omicron CCM Testing Guidance – English (gov.on.ca).

Check the updated COVID-19 assessment tool – click here for the latest version

Symptoms include:

  • One of:
    • fever or chills
    • cough
    • shortness of breath
    • decreased or loss of taste or smell
  • Two or more of:
    • runny nose or nasal congestion
    • headache
    • extreme fatigue
    • sore throat
    • muscle aches or joint pain
    • gastrointestinal symptoms (such as vomiting or diarrhea)

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 then assume you may have the virus, and may be contagious.

  • Monitor your symptoms, and seek medical attention or call 911 if needed (e.g. chest pain, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing). Ontario’s online self-assessment tool can be used to monitor symptoms
  • If you do a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) then:
    • A positive RAT indicates COVID-19 infection, confirmatory PCR testing is not needed.
    • Two negative RATs 24–48 hours apart indicate COVID-19 is unlikely, stay home until symptoms are improving and use a mask when out and follow other precautions.
  • If you qualify for a PCR test then:
    • A positive PCR test indicates COVID-19 infection
    • A negative test indicates COVID-19 unlikely, stay home until symptoms are improving and use a mask when out and follow other precautions. If you develop new or worsening symptoms, get re-tested.

Click here to view a flowchart with guidance for people with symptoms and their households.

12 years+ and fully vaccinated (or less than 12 years old):

  • Stay home and isolate from others in the home for 5 days from the start of your symptoms and until symptoms are improving for 24 hours (or 48 hours if vomiting or diarrhea), whichever is longer in duration.
  • Household members stay home for 5 days. If the person with symptoms has a positive test then household members should stay home for 5 days from the last time they had contact with this person.
  • Notify high risk contacts (anyone you had close contact with starting from 2 days before your symptoms started) – close contacts should monitor for symptoms for 10 days.  If you have a positive test then let your close contacts know they should follow the guidance for high risk contacts.

Unvaccinated (and 12 years or older) or immune-compromised

  • Stay home and isolate from others in the house for 10 days and until symptoms are improving for 24 hours (or 48 hours if vomiting or diarrhea), whichever is longer in duration.
  • Household members stay home for 10 days. If the person with symptoms has a positive test then household members should stay home for 10 days from the last time they had contact with this person.
  • Notify high risk contacts (anyone you had close contact with starting from 2 days before your symptoms started) – high risk contacts should monitor for symptoms for 10 days after their contact with you. If you have a positive test then let your high risk contacts know they should follow the guidance for high risk contacts.

A fully-vaccinated or unvaccinated worker in a highest risk setting (hospital, and health care setting, congregate care settings)

  • Notify employer and follow their directions
  • Arrange a PCR test
  • Self-isolate while waiting for results.
  • If test positive then isolate for 5 days from onset of symptoms and do not return to work for 10 days from onset of symptoms
  • Household contacts stay home for:
    • 5 days since last exposure to the individual if fully vaccinated or under 12 years of age
    • 10 days since last exposure to the individual if partially vaccinated, unvaccinated or immune-compromised
  • Notify close contacts (anyone you had close contact with starting from 2 days before your symptoms started) – high risk contacts should monitor for symptoms for 10 days after their contact with you. If you have a positive test then let your high risk contacts know they should follow the guidance for high risk contacts

A positive test result on a PCR or RAT means COVID-19 infection. Follow the guidance below. 

If you are:

  • Fully vaccinated or less than 12 years old
    • Stay home for 5 days from the start of your symptoms
    • Household contacts stay home for 5 days as well
    • Notify close contacts (anyone you had close contact with starting from 2 days before your symptoms started or you tested positive) – close contacts should monitor for symptoms for 10 days
    • If any household contacts are immune-compromised, they stay home for 10 days
    • Notify your employer if you work in a high-risk setting
    • You can end isolation after five days only if your symptoms have improved for at least 24 hours, and all public health and safety measures, such as masking and physical distancing, are followed. If your symptoms are not in the list above, stay home until you feel better for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if the symptoms affect the digestive system).
  • Unvaccinated (and 12 years or older)
    • Stay home for 10 days from the start of your symptoms
    • Household contacts stay home for 10 days as well
    • Notify close contacts (anyone you had close contact with starting from 2 days before your symptoms started or you tested positive) – close contacts should monitor for symptoms for 10 days
    • Notify your employer if you work in a high-risk setting
  • While in self-isolation, monitor your symptoms of COVID-19, and seek medical attention or call 911 if needed (e.g. chest pain, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing). Ontario’s online self-assessment tool can be used to monitor symptoms.
  • A high risk close contact is anyone that a person having symptoms of COVID-19 or that tested positive for COVID-19 had contact with in the 48 hours before their COVID-19 symptoms began or their positive test result, whichever came first when they were:
    • unprotected (both case and contact weren’t wearing a medical or cloth mask),
    • within close distance (less than 2m/6ft apart) and
    • together for several minutes
  • Low risk or casual interactions are not considered high-risk contacts. Examples include walking by or briefly being in the same room
  • This poster illustrates who is a close contact
  • This poster illustrates who is a close contact at work 
  • Close contacts are at a higher risk of becoming infected and sharing the virus with others, and are referred to as high-risk contacts.

Click here to view a flowchart with guidance for people exposed to someone who has COVID-19 symptoms and/or tests positive on PCR or RAT.

*If you are self-isolating – please check out the Mental Wellness and Health Equity pages of our website to see what resources and supports are available. You can also call 1-800-660-5853 for further assistance.

  • Your household members should complete screening for symptoms before leaving the home.
  • If symptoms develop, follow the guidance above under “What to do if you have symptoms of COVID-19”
  • Individuals who decide to travel internationally or domestically must follow all rules and regulations outlined by the Government of Canada.
  • Regardless of vaccination status, those who travel should practice personal public health measures while away and upon their return.
    • This includes wearing a mask or face-covering, physical distancing, frequent hand washing, and staying outdoors as much as possible in order to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.
    • Travellers should stay informed about the COVID-19 situation at their destination and follow all local COVID-19 restrictions.

Our system of case management and contact tracing is separate from the COVID Alert App. The COVID Alert App is an additional measure to help limit the spread of COVID-19 by notifying you if you (or your phone) have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. This app does NOT send any information to Public Health, but may advise you to call us if needed so we can provide follow up, additional information and support. 

Get more information on the COVID Alert App and how to download it, here.