Last updated: April 12, 2021 at 9:10 a.m.

Toronto Public Health is partnering with Outbreaks Near Me to monitor the frequency of COVID-like symptoms in Toronto. Help us learn how symptoms of COVID-19 may be moving through our community by completing a short survey about your current symptoms.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, or been told by Toronto Public Health that you have a “probable case” of COVID-19, find out what to do next and what to expect from Toronto Public Health.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you must self-isolate for at least 10 days from the day your symptoms started or the day of your test if you have no symptoms.

If you have returned from anywhere outside Canada, including the United States, within the past 14 days you must isolate for 14 days instead of 10 days.

If you are severely immune-compromised, or are hospitalized because of COVID-19, then you may have to isolate for 20 days instead of 10 days.

Toronto Public Health will tell you how long  your isolation period will be, and when you can stop isolating and return to work or school, and other activities.

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.

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

The people who you live with must also self-isolate for at least 14 days. Their isolation period will be based on when they last had close contact with you. Close contact with a household member includes:

  • Being within 2 metres (6 feet) of someone for 15 minutes or more, even if you were both wearing masks.
  • Having multiple close encounters with someone over a 24-hour period (even if each was less than 15 minutes).
  • Having close, physical contact with the person, such as a hug.

If your household members are not able to isolate from you while you are both self-isolating (staying at home), then your household members need to isolate for an additional 14 days after your isolation period ends.

The Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre is available for individuals living with others who need a safe and comfortable space to self-isolate.

When someone has COVID-19, they must stay home and self-isolate to prevent further virus spread. Unfortunately, some people may not be able to do this safely in their own home. There may be other people living in their household and/or they may not have enough space to self-isolate from others. They may also have an underlying health condition and live with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

If someone is not able to self-isolate they risk spreading COVID-19 to others in their household, which means it could spread in the community too. The Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre helps reduce these risks.

Eligibility

Toronto Public Health may identify individuals who can benefit from this program through its process of contacting COVID-19 cases in the City. In addition, individuals in the City of Toronto can self-refer through calling the COVID-19 Hotline at 416-338-7600 to complete an eligibility assessment.

You may be eligible to stay at the voluntary isolation centre if you:

  • Have COVID-19 (within 5 days of symptom onset or test date);
  • Are a close household contact of someone who has COVID-19 (within 5 days of the person’s symptom onset);
  • Have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19 (within 5 days of your last exposure to that person);
  • Are over the age of 18; exceptions made for families/dependents
  • Are a non-smoker or able to isolate for the duration without smoke breaks (e.g. nicotine replacement therapy);
  • Do not have any existing acute or chronic health conditions requiring ongoing medical care; or
  • Do not require hospitalization for COVID-19.

Planning for Your Stay

Toronto Public Health will organize your stay at the Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre.

If you need transportation to and from the Centre, Toronto Public Health can arrange that for you. You will have free access to a comfortable and safe room along with Wi-Fi, a landline phone, television, and three meals and two snacks a day. Learn more about what to bring if you are staying at the Centre.

You may bring food from home, receive outside deliveries or have family or friends drop off food or packages. You may also receive deliveries from community agencies. Only designated staff or guests are allowed to enter the Centre and so all deliveries are received at the front door.

Hotel staff will not enter your room during your stay. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, your room will only be cleaned after you leave the hotel.

Image of Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre guest room
Image of Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre guest bathroom
Image of Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre check in area

Call the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Hotline at 416-338-7600, seven days a week, from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. to learn more.

The Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre is made possible through funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Testimonials

Read what guests who stayed at the Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre had to say about their experience:

Thank you so much for allowing me to come here. I appreciate this so much. I’m really so, so happy that I made sure that I didn’t pass COVID to my family. I have two children that I wanted to protect. My daughter has severe asthma and both of my children got tested and they tested negative. I am so grateful and appreciate that you gave me a place to stay and all my meals. While, I was here I was able to sew my daughter a new dress by hand and a matching red face mask. Thank you so much.

Thank you for taking care of me and for the daily check-up calls to make sure that I am safe and comfortable while here in isolation.”

I have never been happier to be Canadian. I am grateful to have this service to be able to isolate… it is truly a blessing to be Canadian; to have Toronto Public Health and OHIP to support me. Thank you for being here for me today and each day as I move through this uncertain virus.

Resources

Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre Information for Community Members and Providers Video

American Sign Language (ASL) Translation

 

 

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you will be contacted by Toronto Public Health or the Ontario Ministry of Health to:

  • Confirm your positive COVID-19 lab test results.
  • Ask about your symptoms, and determine when they may have started.
  • Determine your self-isolation period, and when you can end isolation and return to work or school.
  • Confirm your ability to safely self-isolate or refer you to the Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre.
  • Help identify your close contacts and determine how they will be notified so they can begin to self-isolate and get tested.

Information about Text Notifications from Toronto Public Health

You may receive a text notification from Toronto Public Health that you have tested positive for 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 also being used to contact people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 in certain settings.

To stop the spread of COVID-19, it is important that your close contacts are notified so that they can self-isolate and get tested. A close contact is anyone who you spent time with when you were infectious.

The start of your infectious period is based on your symptoms and if you were recently a close contact of someone with COVID-19. For most people, their infectious period begins 48 hours before their symptoms start or 48 hours before their test date if they do not have symptoms. Toronto Public Health will work with you to determine the start of your infectious period and who your close contacts are.

Determining Close Contacts

Close contacts include:

  • Anyone who was within 2 metres (6 feet) of you for 15 minutes or more, even if you were both wearing masks.
  • Anyone you had multiple close encounters with someone over a 24-hour period (even if each was less than 15 minutes).
  • Anyone you had close, physical contact with (e.g. hugging).
  • People you live with or provide care for in the same home.

Close contacts do not include the following people:

  • People you had brief, close contact while wearing a mask and/or with a barrier (e.g. plexiglass) in place.
  • People who you passed quickly
  • People you greeted while kept your distance.
  • Someone who made a delivery to you while you were self-isolating, but who did not have close contact with you.

Resources

You must notify your employer or school if you have COVID-19. There may be close contacts at your workplace or school who need to be notified to self-isolate. Toronto Public Health works with workplaces and schools where there may be an outbreak to determine who needs to self-isolate . Your workplace administration must also notify Toronto Public Health if there have been 2 or more cases of COVID-19 in the workplace in a 14-day period using the Workplace Reporting Tool.

Keep track of your symptoms so you can tell a health care provider know how you have been feeling. Call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 if you have questions about your symptoms or are unsure about how to manage them. If you have concerning symptoms, including chest pain or shortness of breath, call 911 immediately.

Individuals with a weakened immune system or with certain medical condition can be at increased risk for complications and even death from COVID-19. If you have concerns about any medical conditions, please speak to your health care provider.

If you do not have any symptoms, you should self-monitor for the development of any symptoms. If you develop symptoms during your isolation period you must contact Toronto Public Health as your isolation period may need to change.

Toronto Public Health does not recommend that you get re-tested after finishing your period of self-isolation. Re-testing is not recommended because you may still test positive for several weeks even though you are no longer able to spread the virus.

A negative test, doctor’s note, or clearance letter is not a recommended requirement for you to return to work and Toronto Public Health does not provide return-to-work letters.

In general, you are no longer infectious and can return to work, school, and your everyday activities when you finish your self-isolation period (usually 10 days after your symptoms began).

Toronto Public Health will tell you what date you can end self-isolation. You can stop self-isolating on that date if you do not have a fever and if your symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours. You must continue to stay home and not go to work or school until you are able to meet these requirements.

If you were admitted to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or you have been told that you are severely immune-compromised you should isolate for 20 days (from when symptoms began).

If you never had symptoms, you can return to work 10 days after your testing date.

Even if you are no longer infectious after 10 days, you may feel lingering effects of your illness. Please speak with your health care provider or call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 if you need further care.

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 whether you can return to work, call the COVID-19 Hotline 416-338-7600.

Resource:

Toronto Public Health is asking people who get tested for COVID-19 to complete a confidential and voluntary online survey about their activities in the days before their test. The survey is part of a new study that compares the activities of people who test positive to those who test negative around the same time, to help us better understand how the virus is spreading in Toronto.

People who test positive will receive a link via email from the Communicable Disease Investigator who contacts them to follow up on their test results. People who test negative will receive an automated text message with a link to complete the survey. The text message will come from a toll-free number starting with an 833 area code.

The survey takes 10-15 minutes to complete and is voluntary. Participation will not affect any services that you receive from the City of Toronto.

All survey responses will be kept confidential, secure and private. The survey tool adheres to all necessary security measures for storage of personal and health information in Ontario. The information will only be used for the purposes of the provincial Health Protection and Promotion Act. Survey results will only be reported at an aggregate level and individuals cannot be identified from the data being collected.