How to help stop the spread of COVID-19

covid 19 is spread mainly from person to person through close contact.

Close contact means:

  • being less than two metres away in the same room, workspace or area for at least 15 minutes, or multiple shorter lengths of time, without personal protective equipment in the 48 hours before symptoms began or a positive test result
  • living in the same home

The best way to stop the spread of covid 19 is to:

  • get vaccinated and get your booster shot
  • wear a face covering or mask when you are in indoor spaces open to the public
  • stay home if you feel unwell (not related to getting a covid 19 vaccine in the last 48 hours)
  • isolate if you have symptoms of covid 19
  • learn what you should do if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19
  • get tested if you are eligible
  • celebrate safely during special occasions
  • continue to follow all public health measures
  • take everyday actions:
    • avoid crowds and maintain physical distance (at least two metres) from people you do not live with
    • wash your hands often with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
    • sneeze and cough into your sleeve
    • avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
    • avoid contact with people who are sick

What to do if you have symptoms of COVID

Symptoms of covid 19 and its variants range from mild — like the flu and other common respiratory infections — to severe. If you feel sick, it’s important that you stay home or talk with a doctor if necessary. Taking a self-assessment can help you determine if you have symptoms of COVID-19 and are required to isolate.

If you have symptoms of covid 19, you and anyone you live with must isolate for five days if you are:

  • fully vaccinated and otherwise healthy
  • under 12 years of age

You can end isolation after five days only if your symptoms have improved for at least 24 hours, and all public health and safety measures, such as masking and physical distancing, are followed. If your symptoms are not in this list, stay home until you feel better for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if the symptoms affect the digestive system).

If you are not fully vaccinated or are immunocompromised, you and anyone you live with must isolate for 10 days.

If you have symptoms of covid 19 or have tested positive for covid 19, you should also tell your close contacts that they have been exposed. Informing your contact will help stop the spread of the virus.

High risk settings

If you work or live in a high risk-health care setting, including hospitals, long-term care, retirement homes, congregate living settings, you must:

  • notify your employer
  • isolate for 10 days from your exposure or symptom onset, or from your date of diagnosis.

To ensure sufficient staffing levels, workers in these settings will have the opportunity to return to work early on day seven of their isolation, with a negative PCR test, or two negative rapid antigen tests on day six and seven.

What to do if you are a close contact

If you are a close contact of someone with symptoms of covid 19 or who has tested positive for the virus, visit ontario.ca/exposed to find out how to protect yourself and your contacts. Follow the steps outlined in being exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and take the necessary precautions to help stop the spread.

How to care for someone with COVID-19

  • wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer after each contact with the infected person
  • do not share dishes, drinking glasses, eating utensils, towels, bedding or other items with the infected person
  • do not share cigarettes
  • wear a mask and gloves when you have contact with any of the person’s bodily fluids
  • take the gloves and mask off right after you provide care and throw them in a waste basket lined with a plastic bag
    • take off the gloves first and clean your hands with soap and water before taking off your mask

Poster: What you need to know to help you and your family stay healthy (PDF)

Poster: Self-isolation: Guide for caregivers, household members and close contacts (PDF)