Last updated: April 22, 2021 at 7 p.m.

If you have been told that you are a close (or high-risk) contact of someone who has COVID-19 by Toronto Public Health or the person who has COVID-19, find out what to do next.

If your child is a close contact of someone who has COVID-19, find out how to care for them safely. Also read Public Health Ontario’s guidance on when to self-isolate for household members.

As part of the case and contact management process, Toronto Public Health works with people who have COVID-19 to determine anyone who may have been exposed to the virus. If you are identified as a close contact, you will receive a letter from Toronto Public Health or the person who has COVID-19. You may also receive a phone call from Toronto Public Health.

If you have not been notified that you are a close contact but are worried that you may have been exposed to COVID-19, you should self-monitor for symptoms. Only get tested for COVID-19 if you develop symptoms

If you are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19, you must self-isolate for at least 14 days from the day you last had close contact with that person.

Self-isolation is mandatory under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, and if you fail to do this, you could be fined under the Act. Please review information about the COVID-19 Self-Isolation Class Order.

If you cannot safely self-isolate in your own home, you may be eligible to stay at the Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre.

While you are self-isolating, your household members should also stay home except for essential reasons (e.g. getting groceries, going to work if their work is essential). Some workplaces do not allow household members of close contacts to attend work.

If you develop symptoms during your period of self-isolation, your household members must self-isolate until you test negative for COVID-19 or are provided with an alternative health diagnosis.

To safely self-isolate, you should:

  • Isolate yourself (stay in your own room) as much as possible
  • Wear a mask or face covering when leaving your room
  • Maintain a distance of 2 metres (6 feet) when outside your room
  • Use separate kitchen/bathroom if possible; if using a kitchen/bathroom that others use, use it at a separate time and clean any high-touch surfaces after use
  • Not eat meals in the same area with others in your home
  • Not share a bed

Follow Public Health Ontario’s instructions on how to self-isolate.

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

 

If you are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19 and you cannot safely self-isolate in your own home, you may be eligible to stay at the Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre.

You should arrange to get tested at an Assessment Centre. Directions on when to test varies depending on the type of contact you had with the person who has COVID-19. You may need to be tested multiple times.

If you saw the person who has COVID-19 only once, you should wait until at least 7 days after the day you saw them before getting tested.

If you are a household contact of someone with COVID-19, or had ongoing exposure to the person with COVID-19, you should go for a test as soon as possible. If the first test was negative, you should go for a second test at least 10 days after your most recent exposure to the person. If your first was 7 or more days after your most recent exposure you do not need to test a second time unless you develop symptoms.

You should also get tested (even if it means getting tested again) if you develop any symptoms of COVID-19, including new or worsening:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Muscle aches or joint pain
  • Difficulty breathing (shortness of breath)
  • Tiredness
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Runny nose
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g. nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea)

If you test positive at any time, TPH will contact you and you will not need further testing. Even if your tests are negative, you will need to continue to self-isolate for the full 14 days from your last contact with the person who has COVID-19.

Toronto Public Health may contact you if you are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19 to check how you are feeling, provide information about self-isolation, and answer questions you may have. In some instances, you may receive a contact letter from the person who has COVID-19 as some people are being instructed by Toronto Public Health to provide these letters directly to their close contacts.

You may receive a text notification from Toronto Public Health if you are identified as a close contact of someone who has COVID-19.

The text message will be from 647-492-2181 and include a secure link to complete a personal assessment form. The form is voluntary and will take about 10 minutes to complete. You can opt out by texting STOP. After you complete the form, you may receive a call to confirm the information you submitted. If you have any questions about the form, you can call the COVID-19 Hotline at 416-338-7600.

The text messages are delivered by the Virtual Assistant tool, which is part of the Government of Ontario’s case and contact management system. It can be used on mobile devices and created for a mobile experience. All information collected through the tool is kept confidential and protected by Ontario’s health laws. It will only be used for public health purposes.

The Virtual Assistant tool is currently being piloted for close contacts of people who test positive for COVID-19, including non-household close contacts of people in the school community who test positive for COVID-19. Non-household close contacts of people in the school community who test positive will receive a phone call to confirm their enrollment in the Virtual Assistant tool before receiving any text notifications. Close contacts who are part of a dismissed school cohort will continue to be notified of the need to self-isolate through the school principal and will not be enrolled in the Virtual Assistant tool at this time.

The Virtual Assistant tool is also being used to notify people who have COVID-19.

As a close contact of someone who has COVID-19 you should monitor for the appearance of any symptoms. If you develop any symptoms, you should get tested and continue to self-isolate. Your family members also need to self-isolate until you test negative or are provided with an alternative diagnosis.

You must also notify Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600 for an assessment and next steps. Learn more about COVID-19 symptoms.

If you have self-isolated for 14 days and have not developed symptoms, you can stop self-isolating.  After you stop self-isolating you must continue to practise prevention measures, including physical distancing, wearing a mask, and washing your hands.

If you have questions about your self-isolation period or when you can return to work, call the COVID-19 Hotline 416-338-7600.