d Instructions for Positive COVID-19 Cases and High-Risk Contacts - Niagara Region, Ontario
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Instructions for Positive COVID-19 Cases and High-Risk Contacts

The following recommendations will help to keep our community safe when you or someone you have been in contact with has received a positive test result.

Instructions for individuals who are fully vaccinated or are not fully vaccinated may differ. Learn who is fully vaccinated.

For positive COVID-19 cases

  • Self-isolate for 10 days

    If you received a positive COVID-19 result from a health care provider or through the provincial portal, you must self-isolate for 10 days.

    If you had symptoms when you were tested or developed symptoms within one week after your test, self-isolate for 10 days from the time your symptoms developed. For example, if you developed a sore throat on Jan. 1. and you were tested on Jan. 3, you should remain in self-isolation until midnight on Jan. 11.

    If you did not have symptoms when you were tested and did not develop symptoms within one week after your test, self-isolate for 10 days from the day you were tested.

    It's best if you self-isolate away from any household members who are not fully vaccinated. A large proportion of household members will become sick if there's a COVID-19 case in the home. If you can self-isolate at another location away from the household, that is strongly recommended. Otherwise, self-isolate in a separate part of the house with a separate bathroom and bedroom if possible. Review the self-isolation recommendations.

  • Talk to everyone you live with

    Everyone in your household who is not fully vaccinated must self-isolate for 10 days from their last interaction with you. This means they cannot leave the house to go to work or school, or run errands.

    For example, you received your positive result Jan. 10. If you began to self-isolate away from your family members when you received your positive result, your household members who are not fully vaccinated must self-isolate until midnight on Jan. 20 - ten days from their last interaction with the positive case.

    • Individuals who are positive should self-isolate away from those who are not positive. Positive individuals can isolate together.
    • Co-isolating means you're not able to self-isolate away from your household members. If you co-isolate, the isolation dates may be extended from the original 10 days for those who are unable to self-isolate away from infected individuals. If another household member tests positive after the original case, this can extend the self-isolation period for others living in the home. Every positive case will receive a call from Public Health and you will receive direction regarding self-isolation for those that live in your home. The dates will vary depending on your situation and the health history of your household members.
  • Monitor your health

    If you need medical attention, call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 or your primary care provider, and tell them that you're COVID-19 positive.

    If you require urgent medical attention, call 911 and tell them that you're COVID-19 positive.

  • Think about where you have been

    You can spread the virus to others 48 hours before you develop symptoms. If you don't have symptoms, consider yourself infectious for 48 hours before your test.

    • Can you think of anyone that you had contact with who would be considered a high-risk contact?
    • Use calendars, pictures taken, banking statements, GPS records and credit card receipts to remember where you might have been
  • Contact your high-risk contacts and tell them to self-isolate

    High-risk contacts must isolate if they are not fully vaccinated or if they become symptomatic. If a fully vaccinated high-risk contact becomes symptomatic, they must isolate and get tested.

    Tell your high-risk contacts that public health will follow up with them and to:

    • Visit this page and review steps for high-risk contacts of someone with COVID-19
    • Self-isolate for 10 days from the last time they had contact with you
    • Arrange to be tested on day seven from the last day they had contact with you
    • Review recommendations for high-risk contact of a COVID-19 case

    If they develop symptoms before seven days, tell them to be tested sooner. They should book an appointment online for testing as soon as possible. If they test positive, they will need to change their self-isolation dates and self-isolate for 10 days from the day they developed symptoms or receive a positive test result.

  • Think about your workplace

    If you worked while you were infectious, tell Public Health. With your consent, Niagara Region Public Health will reach out to your employer to identify your high-risk contacts.

    Your employer can also email Public Health inspectors if they want to talk to a health inspector about cleaning and reducing further infections at the workplace. For more information, visit workplace COVID-19 exposures and outbreaks.

    Visit COVID-19 in the workplace for more information on how employers and employees can reduce the community spread of COVID-19.

For high-risk contacts of someone who is COVID-19 positive

Generally, a high-risk contact is defined as being within two metres of the infectious person for 15 minutes or more, or having direct physical contact with them. A contact may still be high-risk even with less than 15 minutes of close contact, or being further than two metres away, if:

  • The contact lives with the case
  • There is exposure to the case’s bodily fluids
  • The interaction occurs indoors in a small, closed, or poorly ventilated area
  • The infectious person coughs or sneezes during the interaction
  • Singing, loud talking, eating together, or shouting is occurring
  • The interaction occurs during vigorous physical activity
  • There are many repeated shorter contacts while the person is infectious
  • Other considerations as directed by Public Health. However, due to capacity limitations, not all high-risk contacts can be followed up directly.

See our Community Exposure Assessment for more details.

If in doubt, it's best to self-isolate to protect your household, family, friends, and community. Due to capacity limitations, Public Health may not be able to follow-up directly with all contacts. However, Public Health will follow-up with all cases and will provide further direction about contacts to them.

  • Self-isolate

    If you're a high-risk contact, you must self-isolate for 10 days. If you develop symptoms, your isolation will be extended from the date your symptoms began.

    You will need to self-isolate from the time that you were last in close contact with the positive case. Someone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be infectious from 48 hours before, and for the 10 days following the onset of their symptoms. If someone who tests positive for COVID-19 doesn't have symptoms, they are considered infectious for 48 hours before testing.

    For example, if you had dinner with someone on Jan. 1 who later called you and said they tested positive and developed symptoms on Jan. 3, you will need to self-isolate until midnight on Jan. 11.

    A high-risk contact doesn't need to self-isolate if:

    • They are fully vaccinated and are not showing symptoms
    • They previously tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days, have since been cleared and are not showing any symptoms

    Testing is recommended to anyone with exposure to a positive case on day seven after the last interaction or sooner if you become symptomatic. You may be positive even without symptoms so it's important to book a COVID-19 test.

    If you're not fully vaccinated (or previously positive in the last 90 days and since cleared) and you do not get tested seven days after your interaction with the positive case, your self-isolation period may be extended as directed by Public Health.

    Review the self-isolation recommendations.

  • Talk to everyone you live with

    If you're not fully vaccinated, or previously tested positive within the last 90 days (and since cleared), tell everyone in your home that you will need to self-isolate for 10 days. It's important that you self-isolate away from other members of your family. If you can self-isolate at another location or in a separate part of the house with a separate bathroom and bedroom, that is best.

    If you have symptoms or develop new symptoms, anyone you live with who is not fully vaccinated must stay home and not leave the house for work or school until you're tested and receive your results

    If you don't have symptoms, others in your home can continue to go to work and school

  • If you develop symptoms, get tested now and monitor your health

    Book an appointment online for testing. Everyone you live with that is not fully vaccinated or have not previously tested positive within the last 90 days (and have since been cleared) must stay home until you're tested and receive your results.

    As a high-risk contact of a case, even if your test results are negative, you must continue to isolate for the full 10 days, whether or not you're fully vaccinated or previously tested positive for COVID-19. Other household members can return to work and school.

    Even with negative test results you must continue to self-isolate as you can still develop COVID-19 symptoms after receiving a negative test result. If you develop new or worsening symptoms, you should get re-tested. It's recommended to get tested on day seven from your exposure.

    If your test results are positive, your self-isolation end date will change.

    For example, you were in contact with a positive case on Jan. 1. While self-isolating, you developed symptoms on Jan. 6. You arranged for testing when you developed symptoms and have received a positive test result. You're now required to extend your self-isolation period for an additional 10 full days past the day you started to develop symptoms. This means you will need to self-isolate until midnight on Jan. 17.

    Review recommendations for a positive COVID-19 case.

  • If you don't develop symptoms, get tested on day seven and monitor your health

    It's recommended that you get tested seven days after your interaction with the positive case as you may be positive even without symptoms. Book an appointment online for testing.

    If your test results are positive, you will need to extend your self-isolation date.

    For example, you never develop symptoms and you're tested on day seven as recommended. If you receive a positive test result extend your self-isolation period to 10 full days past the day you were tested. So, if you were tested on Jan. 10, you would need to self-isolate until midnight on Jan. 21.

    Review recommendations for a positive COVID-19 case.

For positive COVID-19 cases and high-risk contacts

Don't have visitors unless it's essential, such as health care providers. If arranging for delivery of groceries and other necessities, have the person leave them at the door so that you don't put them at risk.

Practise physical distancing, hand hygiene, and regular cleaning and disinfecting.

Follow these steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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