What to do if you have been in contact with a person with COVID-19
If you have been in contact with a person who has COVID-19, including up to two days before the person started to have symptoms or went for a COVID-19 test, you may be a close contact and may need to self-isolate.
- I live with a person who has tested positive. Do I need to self-isolate?
If you live with the case you are considered a household contact. Whether you need to self-isolate depends on if you have had 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
Unimmunized or partially immunized household contacts
A household contact is considered unimmunized or partially immunized if you have not been vaccinated or if you have only received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
- You must self-isolate and monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 for 10 days from the last day you were exposed to someone with COVID-19. You should continue to monitor for symptoms for an additional four days.
Fully Immunized household contacts
A household contact is considered to be fully immunized when more than 7 days have passed since you received your second dose of COVID-19 vaccine at the time of the first date of contact with the positive COVID-19 case when they were infectious.
- These household members do not need to self-isolate, but they must monitor themselves closely for symptoms for 14 days after the last date of contact
- How do I know if I am a close contact?
You are considered a close contact if:
- You were near a person with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes when safety measures were not in place or were insufficient. Safety measures may include physical barriers or physical distancing of at least 2 metres.
- If you were wearing a non-medical mask, you would still be considered a close contact. Some interactions that are less than 15 minutes can also be considered close contact.
- A person with COVID-19 sneezes or coughs on you.
- You interacted with a person up to two days before they showed symptoms. Some people who don’t show symptoms may still be contagious.
- You interacted with the person up to two days before they went for a COVID-19 test.
- I am a close contact and do not live with the case. Do I need to self-isolate?
Whether you need to self-isolate depends on if you have been immunized with COVID-19 vaccine.
If you are not vaccinated for COVID-19 OR received your first dose of COVID-19 vaccine less than or equal to 21 days before coming into close contact with a person with COVID-19:
- Self-isolate and monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 for 10 days from the last date of your exposure. If you do not develop any symptoms, you may discontinue self-isolation and return to normal activities.
- Please continue to monitor for symptoms for an additional 4 days.
If you received your first dose of COVID-19 vaccine more than 21 days before coming into contact with a person with COVID-19 OR If you received your second dose of COVID-19 vaccine:
- You are not required to isolate but should still monitor for symptoms for 14 days.
- How do I self-isolate?
Your self-isolation starts from the day you were last in close contact with the person with COVID-19.
- Monitoring for signs of COVID-19.
- Staying at home
- Staying away from others in the home
- Using a separate bathroom if possible
- Getting basics like groceries and medications delivered or brought to you by someone not in self-isolation
- You can still go to scheduled medical appointments. Call you care provider ahead of time and let them know you are a contact to COVID-19. They will let you know if your appointment can be rescheduled.
You can exercise outside as long as you can stay at least two metres away from others.
- Do not go to work, school, or other public areas (such as grocery stores, shopping malls, fitness centres, or places of worship)
- Do not have visitors
- Do not share personal items with others
- Do not use public transport
For more information see the BCCDC Self-Isolation and Self-Monitoring page.
- Do I need to get tested for COVID-19?
If you get sick with signs of a cold, the flu, or COVID-like illness (even mild ones):
- Get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible.
No matter whether you have signs of illness or not, if you have been told to self-isolate and you test negative for COVID-19, you must do both of these things:
- You must self-isolate for the full 10 days from when last in contact with COVID-19.
- You must monitor for signs of COVID-19 for 14 days from when last in contact with COVID-19.
- Where and how can I get tested?
To find the nearest testing location, go to our testing information page.
You can make an appointment by calling 1-844-901-8442 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., seven days a week.
- Can I get vaccinated if I am a close contact?
COVID-19 vaccines offer the best protection against COVID-19.
If you are self-isolating and have not received a first or second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, once you’re self-isolation is over, please walk in or book an appointment an immunization clinic near you.
If you do not need to self-isolate, please get your first or second dose as soon as you’re able (second dose can be scheduled 28 days from your first dose).
- When should I seek medical care?
- If your symptoms feel worse than a common cold you can call your health-care provider.
- Call 8-1-1 any time day or night if you have any questions or concerns about your health.
- Call 9-1-1 if you have more severe symptoms, such as trouble breathing or chest pain.
- If you go for medical care, call ahead. Let them know you are self-isolating.
People with weakened immune systems are at increased risk of more severe illness due to COVID-19. This can include older people and people with chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart, renal or chronic lung disease.
- How do I self-monitor?
Use the COVID-19 Assessment tool every day to check for any symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days from when you were last in close contact with the person with COVID-19.
If you feel well, you may continue to go to work, school and all activities. Avoid being around people who would be at a higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness, such as the elderly and people with weak immune systems due to medication use or illnesses.
If you become ill, isolate away from others and book an appointment to get a COVID-19 test. Continue to isolate until your results are back and symptoms go away. If your test is positive you will receive a call from Public Health.
To learn more about COVID-19, visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1. This service is available in multiple languages.