Last updated: July 21, 2021 at 2:50 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.

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 or text message from Toronto Public Health.

If you are identified as a close contact of someone who has COVID-19 you will need to self-isolate, unless you are fully vaccinated. If you think you are fully vaccinated, please read information for Fully Vaccinated Close Contacts below.

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 not fully vaccinated and 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. Toronto Public Health may direct a longer self-isolation period based on your vaccination and testing status and when you last had close contact with the person who has COVID-19.

If you think you are fully vaccinated, please read information for Fully Vaccinated Close Contacts below.

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.

If you are required to self-isolate, 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.

If you are identified as a close contact, you should arrange to get tested at an Assessment Centre, even if you are fully vaccinated. 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 more than once.

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, persons who are not fully vaccinated 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 77000 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 used 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 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.

Resource:

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

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

Fully vaccinated persons are those who have received the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series (e.g., Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca) or one dose of a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine series (e.g., Janssen) and where 14 days have passed since their final dose.

If it has not been 14 days since you received the final dose in your vaccine series, you are not considered fully vaccinated and you must self-isolate.

If you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to self-isolate if you:

  • Have no symptoms related to COVID-19;
  • Are not immunocompromised;
  • Are not a resident at a long-term care or retirement home
  • Are not a hospital inpatient
  • Have not been otherwise instructed to self-isolate for 14 days by Toronto Public Health

If all of the above criteria apply, you are not required to isolate and you should do the following:

  • Get tested
  • Self-monitor for symptoms
  • Notify your employer that you may have been exposed to COVID-19

You may be able to continue to go to work. Some workplaces, such as long-term care homes, may have additional requirements for fully vaccinated close contacts.

If you are fully vaccinated and you experience or develop COVID-19 symptoms you are required to self-isolate. You should get tested immediately and your household members should stay home except for essential reasons (e.g. groceries) until you receive a negative test result. Based on your test results, do the following:

  • If you test negative, you are able to come out of self-isolation once your symptoms have been improving for 24 hours and you have no fever without taking fever-reducing medication
  • If you test positive, remain in self-isolation and you will be contacted by Toronto Public Health
  • If you test indeterminate, remain in self-isolation, get re-tested as soon as possible and you will be contacted by Toronto Public Health

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.