Why do I need to self-isolate?
Self-isolation is important to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Not everyone with COVID-19 will have symptoms and some may only have mild symptoms. Also, when you are exposed to an illness, there is a time between the exposure and when you start to feel sick, known as the incubation period, when you may spread COVID-19.
It is a legal requirement to self-isolate. It is an offence not to isolate and you can be fined.
When do I have to self-isolate?
If you have COVID-19:
- You must self-isolate for 7 days from when your symptoms began or from the date of your COVID-19 test, whichever is shorter. You can exit self-isolation after 7 days if you are not experiencing any symptoms or if symptoms are improving (and no fever for the last 24 hours). If symptoms do not improve, extend self-isolation to 10 days total.
- If you are immune compromised, you must isolate for 10 days and must be feeling better with no worsening symptoms to exit isolation. If you are immune compromised and if hospitalized, you must isolate for 14 days, and must be feeling better with no worsening symptoms to exit isolation.
- More information for people who tested positive can be found here.
If you are a close contact of a positive case and you develop symptoms:
- immediately isolate, you are considered positive for COVID-19 and required to follow the isolation for people with COVID-19, you should get tested if you are at higher risk for severe outcomes at a testing clinic. If you are NOT at higher risk of severe outcomes, you can seek confirmatory testing at a testing clinic if you wish.
- If your testing clinic test is negative, you are no longer required to isolate but you should stay home while experiencing symptoms. If you continue to experience symptoms, you should test again.
- Guidance for close contacts is available here
If you tested positive with a rapid antigen test, immediately isolate and you may choose to get your result confirmed at a testing clinic.
- If you don’t confirm your result at a testing clinic, you are required to isolate as a positive case and follow the steps outlined for positive cases.
If you have symptoms and are waiting for your COVID-19 test result, and have not been in close contact with a known COVID case:
- you only need to self-isolate until you receive a negative COVID-19 test result, unless otherwise instructed by a public health official.
- Members of your household do not have to self-isolate with you, but everyone must practice public health measures including hand washing, enhanced cleaning of shared surfaces and equipment, limit the number of close contacts, and physical distancing. If a child has symptoms and is waiting for a COVID-19 test result, a parent or guardian must stay home with the child.
If you have been outside of PEI, upon arrival in the province:
- PEI is no longer requiring isolation for travellers on entry to PEI, regardless of vaccination status. More information on travel measures can be found here.
- People who have travelled internationally, continue to be subject to any applicable federal quarantine and testing requirements.
- Do not have contact with others (in-person)
- Stay on your property/the property of your self-isolation location;
- Do not leave home/your self-isolation location unless absolutely necessary, such as to seek medical care, COVID-19 testing or because of risk to physical safety (e.g. fire);
- Do not go to school, work, public areas or use public transportation (e.g., buses);
- Arrange contactless drop-off of groceries, food, medication and other supplies at your door; (curbside pick-up, drive-thrus and entering retail stores is not permitted);
- Do not attend public events, places of worship, restaurants/bars, arenas, and gyms;
- Do not host or visit people indoors or outdoors;
- If you are in a situation where you are the only member of your household who needs to self-isolate, where at all possible, seek a completely separate location to self-isolate.
- If you need assistance in developing an appropriate COVID-19 self-isolation plan, please contact DeptHW@gov.pe.ca
- If you are self-isolating in a multi-unit residence such as an apartment building, condo, or hotel, the following requirements also apply:
- stay on the building's property;
- if you need to use shared corridors, stairwells, or elevators to enter and exit the building, select times that are less busy, perform hand hygiene before leaving, and maintain physical distancing and wear a mask;
- practice physical distancing while outdoors on the building’s property;
- except for entering and exiting the building, you are not permitted to use any common spaces including laundry,
- if you have a pet that requires exercise beyond the confines of the property, make arrangements with a friend or family member
- if staying in a hotel, communicate with the hotel administration regarding any protocols they may have in place for individuals in self isolation.
What else should I consider if I need to self-isolate?
Other areas you should consider if you need to self-isolate includes:
- Who (not in isolation) will support you during your isolation, such as in collecting and dropping off items such as food and medications, walking your dog, or if necessary, provide transportation to testing clinic following the Transporting Travellers to Self-Isolation Location Guidance.
What else can I do to stop the spread of infection in my home?
Proper hygiene and hand-washing can help minimize exposure to COVID-19.
Keep your hands clean
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Dry with disposable paper towels or a reusable towel that is replaced when it becomes wet.
- Remove dirt with a wet wipe and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Cover your cough or sneeze
- Cough or sneeze into the bend of your arm or into a tissue.
- Throw used tissues in the garbage. Wash your hands immediately after or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoid contaminating common items and surfaces
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that you touch often, like toilets, bedside tables, doorknobs, phones and television remotes at least once a day.
- Do not share personal items, such as toothbrushes, towels, bed linen, utensils or electronic devices.
- Use regular household disinfectants or diluted bleach (1 part bleach and 9 parts water) to disinfect.
- Place contaminated items that cannot be cleaned in a lined container, secure the contents and dispose with other household waste.
- Put the toilet lid down before flushing.
Care for yourself
Monitor for symptoms. Most cases of COVID-19 are mild, and symptoms can be safely treated at home.
Get some rest, eat a balanced diet and stay in touch with others by phone, social media or Internet.
If your COVID-19 symptoms are worsening, your first point of contact should be your primary care provider (family doctor or nurse practitioner). At their discretion, they will either arrange a telephone appointment or see you in person.
If seeking care outside of the home, inform your initial contact, whether via telephone or in person, that you are in self isolation.
If symptoms become serious and you need urgent medical attention, call 911 or go to the emergency department directly.
More information on caring for COVID-19, including about antiviral treatment, can be found here
Once your self-isolation period is complete, follow general Public Health Guidance.
I need to seek emergency medical care - do I need to notify someone or call ahead?
If you need to seek emergency medical care while you are in self isolation, call 911 and/or go directly the emergency department as needed. Inform your initial contact, whether via telephone or in person, that you are in self isolation.
The Chief Public Health Officer may issue a fine to anyone who is not following self-isolation rules. For details, download Public Health Order for COVID-19 Self-Isolation.
If you have a concern about someone who is not complying with the rules of self-isolation, call the COVID-19 information line at 1-800-958-6400 (toll-free).