Self-Isolation and COVID-19

Self-isolation means staying home and avoiding situations where you could come in contact with others and is an important measure in stopping the spread of illness. There are a number of reasons why you should or may be required to self-isolate. For more information about self-isolation:

If you have symptoms of COVID-19

Symptoms may vary from person to person. Some people may experience mild symptoms, while others have more severe symptoms. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, self- isolate immediately, avoid contact with others and get tested for COVID-19. For more information about the symptoms of COVID-19, see Symptoms of COVID-19. Testing is available for anyone with COVID-19 like symptoms, even mild ones. For more information on testing and where to go for testing, visit the Testing page.

Those who get diagnosed with COVID-19 will need to self-isolate for at least 10 days from when their symptoms started. For more information on what to do if you have COVID-19, if you think you may have it, or believe you may require medical care, visit the If you are Sick page.

Learn more about self-isolation when you have COVID-19 or any symptoms of COVID-19:

If you are a contact of someone with COVID-19

If you have been exposed to the virus, you will be contacted by your regional health authority's public health team through a process called contact tracing. This means you are a contact of a confirmed case. If you do not have symptoms, you will be asked to self-isolate so that if you develop COVID-19, you won’t spread it to others in the community.

Visit the BC Centre for Disease Control page for more information about contact tracing and close contacts

While in self-isolation you should also be self-monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19.

Learn more about caring for someone in your household with COVID-19, and self-isolating and self-monitoring if you are a close contact of someone in your household who may have been exposed:

If you have travelled internationally

Avoiding non-essential travel helps reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you have traveled outside of Canada, you are required by law to self-isolate for 14 days upon your return to Canada. You are also required to submit a self-isolation plan before or on your return to Canada.

While in self-isolation you should also be self-monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19.

Learn more about self-isolation and self-monitoring on return to British Columbia:

For more information about returning from travel and travel restrictions in Canada, see Travel and COVID-19.

Ending self-isolation

If you have been sick, were exposed to COVID-19, or returned from travel you likely self-isolated for 14 days or 10 days after symptoms started, whichever is longer. After your 10- or 14-day self-isolation, you may return to your regular activities if:

  • At least 10 days have passed since any symptoms started, and
  • Your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medications (e.g. Tylenol, Advil), and
  • You are feeling better (there is improvement in sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue). Coughing may go on for several weeks, so a cough alone does not mean you need to continue to self-monitor and self-isolate. OR
  • You were self-monitoring and never developed any symptoms.

Learn more about ending isolation and additional resources:

Find more information about COVID-19 and how to protect yourself, your family and your community, see Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Last updated: January 08, 2021

Is it an emergency?

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