Close Contacts

Case management and Contact tracing efforts by public health units are focused on specific highest risk settings where the person-to-person risk of transmission is high in a vulnerable population.  As a result, individuals who have COVID-19 are being asked to notify their close contacts. If someone you have been in contact with notifies you that you are a close contact, please follow the instructions provided to you related to isolation. 

Highest risk settings include hospitals (including complex continuing care facilities and paramedic services) and congregate living settings, including Long-Term Care,
retirement homes, First Nation elder care lodges, group homes, shelters, hospices, correctional institutions, Provincial Demonstration Schools and hospital schools.

COVID-19 is spread through close and prolonged contact with a person transmitting the COVID-19 virus. A close contact is someone who had a prolonged exposure in close proximity (within 2 metres) to a person diagnosed with COVID-19. Contact should be considered from (48 hours) before the start of the person’s symptoms or 48 hours before the positive test date.

Close Contacts

COVID-19 is spread through close and prolonged contact with a person transmitting the COVID-19 virus. A close contact is someone who had a prolonged exposure in close proximity (within 2 metres) to a person diagnosed with COVID-19. Contact should be considered from 48 hours before the start of the person’s symptoms or 48 hours before the positive test date. 

Close Contact

  • You were within 2 metres of a person who is infectious.  There are different activities that increase risk in this case.  For example, face to face conversations increase the risk and the longer you spend with an infected person, the greater the risk.
  • You had multiple close encounters with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 over a 24-hour period without masking, distancing and/or use of PPE.
  • You had close, physical contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19, such as a hug, hand shake or massage.
  • You live in the same home as someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • You worked physically near (less than 2 metres of physical distance) a person who is infectious for a prolonged period of time.
  • You took lunch breaks or socialized in the break room with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 and were within 2 metres.

Not a Close Contact

  • If you consistently maintained a distance of at least 2 metres away from the individual who was diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • You had a very brief, close contact while wearing a mask and/or with a barrier in place.
  • You passed by someone quickly.
  • You made a delivery to someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19 but had no contact with them (i.e., consistently stayed at least 2 metres away from them).
  • You worked the same shift as someone diagnosed with COVID-19 but never worked within 2 metres of them.
  • You attended the same store as someone diagnosed with COVID-19 but had no direct contact with them (i.e., never came within 2 metres of them).

These are general guidelines that apply to community exposures.  For exposures in vulnerable populations such as congregate living centres, guidelines are adapted to protect those at higher risk.

If you live with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or has COVID-19 symptoms and do not live, work, or volunteer in highest risk settings: English | French

You've been identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive

You must self-isolate for the same amount of time as the person with COVID-19/with COVID-19 symptoms unless:

  • You have previously tested positive for COVID19 in the last 90 days or
  • You are 18 years old or older and have received a booster dose or
  • You are under 18 years old and are fully vaccinated

If you develop symptoms, self-isolate immediately and follow these instructions:

If you live with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or has COVID-19 symptoms and you work or volunteer in highest risk settings

  • If you’ve been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19/has COVID-19 symptoms and work/volunteer/attend in a highest risk setting, you can follow self-isolation guidance above if you do not have symptoms, unless otherwise directed by public health.
  • Close contacts should not be working or visiting in highest risk settings for 10 days after last exposure, unless required for critical work shortages.
  • Close contacts who tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days (based on a positive rapid antigen test or PCR test) can work in the highest-risk setting, as long as they do not have symptoms. These individuals should self-monitor for symptoms for 10 days after last exposure.

If you live with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or has COVID-19 symptoms and you live in highest risk settings

  • If you’ve been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and live in a highest-risk setting, you should generally self-isolate for 10 days after the last exposure.

Read what to do if you have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19/has COVID-19 symptoms and you do not live with this person.

You've been identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive

For a total of 10 days after the last exposure to the individual with COVID-19/COVID-19 symptoms, close contacts must:

  • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and self-isolate if symptoms develop
  • Wear a well-fitted mask in all public settings
    • Individuals should wear a mask as much as possible in public settings. Reasonable exceptions would include temporary removal for essential activities like eating (e.g., when eating in shared space at school/work while maintaining as much distancing from others as possible)
    • Individuals can participate in activities where you can wear a mask, but should avoid activities where mask removal would be necessary (e.g., dining out)
    • Individuals who are exempt from masking (e.g., children under two years of age, etc.) may return to public settings without masking
  • Not visit anyone who is immunocompromised or at higher risk of illness (i.e., seniors)
  • Not visit or attend work in any highest risk settings such as hospitals and Long-Term Care homes

Tell your employer that you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. If you are not self-isolating, follow all instructions from your workplace. High-risk settings may have additional requirements and/or require testing in order for you to attend work.

Even if not required to self-isolate, all close contacts should self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.

If you develop symptoms after an exposure to someone who has COVID-19/has COVID-19 symptoms, follow these instructions.

Find out if you are eligible for publicly-funded COVID-19 testing

If you have a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) at home, you can use it and follow the instructions if you have symptoms/test positive or do not have symptoms (see above)

Call the Ministry COVID-19 Testing and Isolation Information Line at: 1-888-777-0730 from 8 am to 6 pm daily.