Last updated: September 21, 2022 at 3:00 p.m.
To prevent the spread of all infectious diseases, all individuals with new symptom(s) of any infectious respiratory illness should stay home when they are feeling sick. Stay at home until you have no fever and symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours for gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and/or diarrhea).
You are considered a person with COVID-19 if ANY of the following apply:
For more information on what to do if you are a person with COVID-19, visit the Provincial website.
If you have any COVID-19 symptoms (even if mild), it is recommended that you stay home (self-isolate) while you are sick.
If you cannot safely self-isolate in your own home, you may be eligible to stay at the Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre.
If you tested positive for COVID-19, but do not have any symptoms, you are not required to self-isolate. You should self-monitor for symptoms and self-isolate if symptoms develop. Wear a mask when in public settings and avoid non-essential visits to vulnerable individuals (e.g. seniors) and high risk settings for 10 days from your positive test date.
Individuals with a weak immune system should isolate for at least 10 days (from symptom onset or positive test date) regardless if you have symptoms of COVID-19.
Note: If you recently returned from international travel and tested positive for COVID-19 as part of the Federal Arrival Testing program, visit the Government of Canada website for information about federal self-isolation requirements.
To stop the spread of COVID-19, it is important that you notify your close contacts, so that they can self-monitor for symptoms and self-isolate (stay home) if symptoms develop. A close contact is anyone who you spent time with when you were infectious.
Please refer your close contact to the what to do if you are a close contact webpage for more information.
If you are unable to safely self-isolate in your own home because of lack of space, or because you live with people with underlying health conditions, you may be eligible for support at the Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre. The Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre provides access to a safe and comfortable room, with meals provided, free Wi-Fi, a landline phone and television. This free service is available to people living in Toronto to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to others in their household and the broader community.
Toronto Public Health may identify individuals who can benefit from this program through its process of contacting COVID-19 cases in the City. Alternatively, if you are a member of the public and think you would benefit from this program because you are a case or contact or someone with COVID-19, please contact our COVID-19 hotline at 416-338-7600 Monday to Friday from 8:30-4:30pm or 311 on weekends for more information.
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.
The Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre is made possible through funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
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.
High-risk settings are settings where there are vulnerable populations and/or where risk for transmission is greatest. High-risk settings include:
If you live in a high-risk setting outlined above, you must self-isolate for at least 10 days after the positive test date or symptom onset (whichever is earlier). Self-isolate until you have no fever and your symptoms have been improving for 24 hours (or 48 hours if gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and/or diarrhea).
If you work/volunteer/attend a high-risk setting, you may need to self-isolate. You can return to work after 10 days or sooner in some instances. Speak to your employer and follow workplace guidelines for return to work criteria.
If you work in a high-risk setting, tell your employer that you have tested positive for COVID-19 and follow workplace policies.
If you do not work in a high risk setting, it is recommended that you tell your employer to decrease the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you may be contacted by the Assessment Centre, Toronto Public Health, or the Ontario Ministry of Health’s provincial workforce. You may receive either a text message, a call, or both in some cases. The information on this page provides the direction on what you need to do; see the self-isolate section for how long you should self-isolate.
As part of your call you may be:
You may receive a text message from Toronto Public Health that you have tested positive for COVID-19. The text message will be from 77000. It may include one of the following:
You can opt out by texting STOP. If you have any questions about text messages from Toronto Public Health, you can call the COVID-19 Hotline at 416-338-7600. Please do not reply to these text messages as your message will not be received.
Keep track of your symptoms so you can tell a health care provider how you have been feeling. Learn more on when to seek medical attention.
You do not need a test to show you have recovered from COVID-19 or to end your isolation. Re-testing is not recommended because you may still test positive for several weeks even though you are no longer infectious.
A negative test, doctor’s note, or clearance letter is not required for you to return to work and Toronto Public Health does not provide return-to-work letters.
In general, you can return to work, school, and your everyday activities when you have no fever and your symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours (48 hours if you have gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea).
If you work in a high-risk setting, you can return to work after 10 days from positive test date or symptom onset (whichever is earlier), or sooner in some instances. Speak to your employer and follow workplace policies.
Toronto Public Health strongly recommends that you continue to practice prevention measures. These include hand washing and physical distancing, where possible. Toronto Public Health also strongly recommends wearing a high quality, well-fitted mask especially in indoor spaces (e.g. crowded indoor spaces with poor ventilation). Masks are especially recommended for people at higher risk of getting seriously sick from COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses. Masks are still required in some settings.
You may feel lingering effects of your illness even after your self-isolation period ends. Please speak with your health care provider or call Health Connect Ontario at 811 if you need further care.
If you have questions about your self-isolation period or whether you can return to work, call the COVID-19 Hotline 416-338-7600.
Breastfeeding (also known as chest feeding) your baby is recommended even if you have COVID-19. This is because breast milk has many health benefits for babies, including protection from different illnesses.
If you have made an informed decision to feed your baby infant formula:
All caregivers must practice good hygiene, including hand washing and wearing a face mask, before touching the baby, breast pump, or feeding bottles and equipment.
If you feel too sick to breastfeed or are not with your baby, try to hand express or pump your milk at least eight times in 24 hours, and once during the night. This will help keep up your breastmilk supply.
Also see information about vaccinations while breastfeeding.
Learn more about how to care for someone who has COVID-19 or a child who has COVID-19.