Last updated: September 22, 2021 at 7:40 p.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. Even if you are fully vaccinated and test positive for COVID-19, you must self-isolate. For more information, please read the Fully Vaccinated Persons with COVID-19 section below.

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.

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 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, unless exempted from federal quarantine. For more information, please see our Travel Advice webpage.

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

If they are not fully vaccinated or have not had a recent COVID-19 infection, the people you live with must also self-isolate for at least 10 days. Toronto Public Health may direct a longer self-isolation period based on their vaccination and testing status and when you last had close contact with the person who has COVID-19.

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 10 days after your isolation period ends.

If you believe your household members are fully vaccinated or have had a recent COVID-19 infection, please see information for fully vaccinated close contacts and those with a recent COVID-19 infection.

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 your final dose, you are not fully vaccinated.

Fully vaccinated persons with COVID-19 must self-isolate. While COVID-19 vaccines significantly decrease the risk for getting sick or dying from COVID-19, fully vaccinated persons can still become infected with the virus and give it to other people.

For information on fully vaccinated close contacts, please see information for Fully Vaccinated Close Contacts.

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 contact of someone who has COVID-19;
  • 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.

photo of Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre reception area
photo of Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre guestroom

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, Toronto Public Health or the Ontario Ministry of Health will attempt to contact you by text message, phone, or letter.

If you are contacted by phone, Toronto Public Health or Ontario Ministry of Health will:

  • 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.

If you have not received any communication and you have additional questions not answered by this website, you can call Toronto Public Health’s COVID-19 Hotline at 416-338-7600.

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 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 also being used to contact people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 in certain settings.

Resource:

One-Way SMS Text Notifications:

You may receive another text notification from Toronto Public Health if you have tested positive and we are not able to reach you. The text message will come from 77000 and contain a link to instructions on what you need to do to help prevent further virus spread.

 

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:

  • There is limited information about breastfeeding as it relates to COVID-19. In other coronavirus infections, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), the virus has not been detected in breastmilk.
  • Breastmilk provides protection against many illnesses.
  • Breastfeeding is recommended even if you have COVID-19 as there is no evidence that the virus is transmitted in breast milk.
  • Take all self-isolation precautions and wear a face mask while breastfeeding to avoid spreading the virus to your baby.
  • If you sneeze or cough over your exposed chest/breasts, wash the area with soap and water before breastfeeding or expressing your milk.
  • If you feel too sick to breastfeed or are separated from your baby, you can hand express or pump your milk at least eight times in 24 hours, and once during the night, to maintain your breastmilk supply. The expressed breastmilk may be fed to your baby from a cup, spoon or bottle by someone who is well.
  • If expressing breast milk, wash your hands and put on a face mask before touching any pump or bottle parts. After each use, clean the pump according to manufacturer’s instructions
  • Do not use borrowed or second-hand breast pumps unless they are hospital grade rental pumps (follow hospital’s instructions). Some used or second-hand breast pumps have internal parts that are difficult to properly sterilize.
  • If a bottle is used to feed expressed breast milk, ensure that it is properly sterilized.
  • All caregivers must practice good hygiene measures, including hand washing and wearing a face mask, before touching the baby, breast pump, or feeding bottles and equipment.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Learn more about breastfeeding and COVID-19 and breastfeeding.

Also see information about vaccinations while breastfeeding.

Download this information as a PDF (also available in Arabic | Amharic | Bengali | Simplified Chinese | Farsi | French | Portuguese | Somali | Spanish | Tamil | Urdu | Vietnamese).

  • Based on current information, infants and children do not appear to be at higher risk for getting COVID-19 than adults.
  • Symptoms and complications of COVID-19 appear to be milder among infants and children compared with adults based on limited reports to date.
  • The best way to protect your baby or child is to take all self-isolation precautions and avoid exposing your baby or child to COVID-19.
  • Ask family members who are not sick and who are within your household to help care for your baby or child when possible.
  • Your child(ren) or anyone else in your household that you have been exposed to must also self-isolate.
  • Watch your child for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If your child develops any COVID-19 symptoms, bring them to an Assessment Center to get tested. Assessment Centres have different age restrictions, check before going.
  • Ensure that everyone in the house is taking precautions to avoid being exposed, including washing their hands frequently and avoiding touching their face.

If you are unable to self-isolate away from your child:

  • Limit the amount of time you are near your baby or child.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds before touching your baby or child.
  • Wear a face mask over your nose and mouth whenever you are near your baby or child and try to stay at least six feet away from each other. Children over the age of two should also wear a face mask over their nose and mouth when they are near you.
  • If possible, keep your baby’s sleep surface at least six feet from your face, and have your child sleep in their own room, not in the bed with you.
  • If you share a bathroom with your child, always clean high-touch surfaces (counters, faucets, doorknobs and toilet handles) after each time you use it and close the lid of the toilet before flushing it.
  • Avoid eating with your child, and if possible, have someone else prepare your child’s meals.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces in your home.
  • If you are the only one caring for your child and are too sick to care for them, try to find a friend or family member outside of your home who your child can stay with. They will need to isolate for 14 days. If you require support, please call 211.

Infant feeding:

  • If you are breastfeeding, always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds before touching the baby and wear a face mask while breastfeeding.
  • If you have made an informed decision to feed your baby infant formula:
    • Ask someone who is well to feed the baby, if possible
    • Always wash your hands and wear a face mask while preparing formula and feeding the baby.
    • Sterilize bottles and equipment, and wash your hands before handling clean bottles and equipment.
    • Have a two to four week supply of formula.
    • If your baby is under two months of age, use liquid concentrate or ready-to-feed formula.
    • Homemade infant formula is not recommended as it is nutritionally incomplete. Learn about infant formula.

Vaccinations & previous COVID-19 infection

  • People who have had COVID-19 in the past should still get vaccinated. Natural immunity from having COVID-19 may not last long and may not protect against COVID-19 variants. It is better to get the vaccine to stay protected.
  • Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, including fever, should not go to a vaccine clinic. Please wait at least 10 days until you are no longer in self-isolation or your symptoms have gone away.

More information


Download this information as a PDF (also available in Arabic | Amharic | Bengali | Simplified Chinese | Farsi | French | Portuguese | Somali | Spanish | Tamil | TigrinyaUrdu | Vietnamese).