Self-isolation can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 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. There is a small chance you could spread germs during these few days. Staying home in isolation is a cautious action that helps to lower the chance of spreading COVID-19 to others.
Fines and reporting
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).
Frequently asked questions
When do I have to self-isolate?
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you must self-isolate for at least 14 days once symptoms begin until you are cleared by a public health official.
If you have symptoms and are waiting for your COVID-19 test result, your requirement to self-isolate is determined by your exposure criteria – or your answer to this question: Have you travelled or had close contact with a positive COVID-19 case?
- If YES, you must self-isolate for 14 days from the date of your test. A negative COVID-19 19 test result during this period will not shorten the length of your self-isolation period.
- If NO, you only need to self-isolate until you receive a negative COVID-19 test result, unless otherwise instructed by a public health official.
If you've had close contact with someone who is a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, you must self-isolate for a period of 14 days from the last day of close contact. Self-isolation is required even if a negative COVID-19 test result is received during this period.
If you have travelled outside of Atlantic Canada or internationally, you must self-isolate for 14 days or for the duration of your stay in PEI (if shorter than 14 days). A negative COVID-19 19 test result does not shorten the length of your self-isolation period. You may be required to provide the Chief Public Health Office with a self-isolation plan.
Do I have to self-isolate if I am coming to PEI to visit someone in palliative care or attend a funeral?
If you are entering PEI from outside of Atlantic Canada, you must self-isolate up to 14 days or for the duration of your stay, if shorter.
You are exempt from self-isolation only during the time when you are visiting the dying individual or attending a wake, funeral or burial service. In these settings, you must keep 6 feet or 2 metre distance from others. You are also expected to perform hand hygiene and practice cough etiquette, self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, stay in self-isolation if experiencing symptoms, and follow other general public health measures outlined below. This exemption does not apply if you are symptomatic or if the patient has a confirmed case of COVID-19.
What does it mean to self-isolate?
Self-isolation means staying at home, or in the same residence, and limiting contact with others.
If you need to self-isolate:
- Stay on your property
- If you live in an apartment building or condo, stay on the building's property and practice physical distancing while in corridors, stairwells, elevators, other shared spaces and outdoors.
- Do not leave unless absolutely necessary, such as to seek medical care.
- Do not go to school, work, public areas or use public transportation (e.g., buses, taxis).
- Have groceries and supplies dropped off at your door to minimize contact.
- Limit contact with people you live with by staying in a separate room and using a separate bathroom, if possible.
- If you have to be in contact with others, keep at least 2 metres between yourself and the other person. Keep interactions brief and wear a mask.
- Avoid anyone with chronic conditions, compromised immune systems and older adults.
- Avoid contact with pets if you live with other people who may also be touching the pet.
If you are in a situation where only one member of your household needs to self-isolate, it is important to take the following precautions:
- Maintain appropriate physical distancing at all times;
- Ensure enhanced cleaning of all shared spaces following use.
If all members of your household cannot ensure that the above requirements can be met, then everyone in the household must self-isolate for 14 days.
Care for yourself
- Monitor for symptoms. If you become ill, call 811 for an assessment or visit a drop-in testing clinic.
- If your symptoms worsen after you have called 811, call again for further screening. If symptoms become serious and you need medical attention, call 911.
- Get some rest, eat a balanced diet and stay in touch with others by phone, social media or Internet.
Once your self-isolation period is complete, you must practice physical distancing.
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.
- 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.