COVID-19 Close Contacts

To limit the spread of COVID-19 in PEI, it is important for someone diagnosed with COVID-19 to identify their close contacts.

Most close contacts will be contacted by the person diagnosed with COVID-19. If you are contacted and advised you are a close contact, information is outlined below.

  • During the infectious period* of someone with COVID-19, a close contact is someone:
    • who had face to face interaction with indoors or outdoors for at least 15 minutes, including 15 minutes in total over a 24 hour period, or
    • who was within 2 meters (6 feet) indoors for at least 15 minutes, including 15 minutes in total over a 24 hour period, or
    • who had been hugging, kissing, or near someone who was coughing or sneezing, or
    • who provided care to them at home.
  • If the person who tested positive wore an appropriate well-fitting mask properly for the duration of the interaction, this wouldn’t be considered a close contact situation. An appropriate mask could be a three layer non-medical mask (that includes a filter layer), a medical mask, or a respirator.

*The infectious period for someone with COVID-19 begins 48 hours (two days) before symptoms started, or, if no symptoms, 48 hours before the positive test was taken. For length of infectious period for positive cases see here.

If you have not been identified as a close contact but feel you may have attended the same location at the same time as someone with COVID-19 but did not have prolonged contact, then you should monitor for symptoms for 10 days. If you are at risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 AND you develop symptoms of COVID-19, you should go to a drop in clinic and be tested.

This page covers:

Measures for close contacts

Close contacts are not required to isolate but must monitor closely for symptoms.

For 10 days, it is recommended you follow enhanced measures:

  • Monitor closely for symptoms. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, follow the guidance here.
  • Wear a properly fitted, three-layer cloth mask or medical mask outside your home (and as much as possible during physical/recreational activities)
  • Work from home as much as possible.
  • When at work, practice physical distancing especially when eating or drinking.
  • Do not visit high-risk settings or individuals until 10 days after the positive case starts their isolation (settings such as long-term care, community care and other congregate living facilities, childcare facilities, and individuals who may be at risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes). This recommendation does NOT apply to:
    • staff who wear well-fitting masks and following appropriate COVID-19 protocols, and
    • children attending childcare facilities.
  • If you are NOT experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, AND you live, work, or access services in a vulnerable setting (see list below), you are not required to be tested. You should continue to monitor for symptoms.
    • Vulnerable settings/roles include:
      • Health Care Workers
      • First Responders
      • Members of First Nations communities
      • Staff and residents of shelters and transition houses; homeless population
      • Long-term care, community care residents
      • Corrections staff and offenders
      • Mental Health & Addictions inpatients
  • If you are NOT experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 and you DO NOT live, work, or access services in a vulnerable setting (see list above), you are not required to be tested. You should continue to monitor for symptoms.
If you test positive for Covid-19, see information here.

Steps if a close contact develops symptoms

If you are feeling unwell, stay home and self-isolate to prevent transmission of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses. 

  • If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, it is recommended to stay home when feeling unwell. 
  • If you are at higher risk of severe outcomes, you should also get tested at a PEI testing clinic or with a home rapid antigen test to facilitate access to treatment. People at higher risk of severe outcomes include:
    • Individuals 50 years and over
    • Anyone with underlying medical conditions that lead to high risk of severe outcomes or are immune compromised
    • Pregnant individuals
    • Children younger than 5 years of age

If your rapid test is negative, and you continue to have symptoms, repeat the test in 24 to 48 hours. If your testing clinic test is negative, you should stay home until your symptoms improve.

Questions and Answers

What if I live with someone with COVID-19 and they cannot isolate away from me in my home?

If you live with someone with COVID-19 and they cannot isolate away from you (e.g. parent and small child or your home layout does not permit), then continue to monitor for symptoms. 

If you live, work or access services in a vulnerable setting you should speak with your employer and follow your workplace guidance for return to work. For the health and safety of staff, workplaces should review their illness policies to be supportive of staff being excluded from the workplace when ill. Staff should only return to work when their symptoms have improved and are fever free for 24 hours. 

Continue to monitor for symptoms for 10 days since your last contact with the positive case. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 – follow the guidance above.

You are advised not to visit high-risk settings or individuals until 10 days after your last exposure to a positive case (settings such as long-term care, community care and other congregate living facilities, childcare facilities, and individuals who may be at risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes). This recommendation does NOT apply to:

  • staff who have completed the isolation and testing and wear well-fitting masks and following appropriate COVID-19 protocols, and
  • children attending childcare facilities.

What if I have been identified as a close contact and tested positive for COVID-19 in the past?

If you are identified as a close contact AND meet the following criteria:

  • in the past 60 days: you tested POSITIVE for COVID-19 (based on a test at testing clinic) or were considered to be positive for COVID-19 based on exposure history and symptoms, AND
  • you have completed your isolation as a positive case of COVID-19, AND
  • you do not have any symptoms

then you should continue to monitor for symptoms. If symptoms develop, it is recommended to stay home until symptoms have resolved or are improving.

Being tested at a testing clinic is not recommended for individuals who had a positive test result in the past 60 days. For guidance on when to begin screening with a rapid antigen self-test after a positive result, visit the Information for People who Tested Positive page.


If I live with someone who has been identified as a close contact, do I also need to isolate?

If you live with someone identified as a close contact of someone outside of the household, you are not required to isolate. You should continue to follow standard public health measures including monitoring for symptoms and getting tested at a testing clinic if symptoms develop.


Are you currently pregnant and a close contact of someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19?

If you are pregnant, and a close contact of someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, follow the public health measures for close contacts. If you require urgent obstetrical care during this time, you can seek care at the QEH Labour and Delivery department. Please call Labour and Delivery at 902-894-2243 prior to coming in.


Where can I find my test results?

The webpage to check your clinic test results is here.  


If I have questions, who can I contact?

For health questions about COVID-19, call 1-800-958-6400.


If I am immunocompromised, if I am identified as a close contact are there any differences to the isolation or testing measures?

Immunocompromised individuals follow the standard guidance for contacts as outlined above.


Summary

For reference, a summary of measures for close contacts:

Close Contacts

  • Follow enhanced measures for 10 days
  • Do not visit high-risk settings or high-risk individuals until after 10 days
  • Self-monitor for symptoms for 10 days since last exposure.
  • If symptoms develop – it is recommended to stay home; you are considered positive for COVID-19; seek testing if you are at risk for severe outcomes.

 

Published date: 
December 1, 2022
Health and Wellness

General Inquiries

Department of Health and Wellness
4th Floor North, Shaw Building
105 Rochford Street
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-6414
Fax: 902-368-4121

DeptHW@gov.pe.ca