COVID-19 Self-Isolation

Self-isolation is a key measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

More information for people who tested positive with COVID-19 can be found here.
If you have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, find more information here.

Why do I need to self-isolate?

Self-isolation is important to prevent the spread of COVID-19 because 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?

For clarification, the first day of self-isolation is day zero. For travellers, day of arrival is day zero.

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are:

  • Fully vaccinated - you must self-isolate for 7 days from 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. 
  • Not fully vaccinated – you must self-isolate for 10 days from when your symptoms began or from the date of your COVID-19 test, whichever is shorter.

More information for people who tested positive can be found here.

If you have symptoms and are waiting for your COVID-19 test result, and you have not traveled or 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've had contact with someone who is a confirmed case of COVID-19, the isolation for contacts of a case is based on vaccine status and their exposure. If you have been identified as a close contact, find more information here. In high risk settings, direction is provided by CPHO/public health nursing.

If you have been outside of PEI, upon arrival in the province:

If unvaccinated or partially vaccinated: You must self-isolate for 8 days, subject to a negative test result on day 8, or for the duration of your stay (if shorter than 8 days).

Non-residents must complete a self-isolation declaration before they arrive in PEI. PEI residents are also asked to complete the declaration before they return home.

If you must isolate following travel, you may be eligible to work isolate when you return to PEI. PEI residents travelling frequently for work may be eligible to apply as rotational workers.

All travellers are also required to be tested as directed at the point of entry.

See also testing requirements for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people in isolation following travel.

  • For international travel:
    • You must follow federal quarantine requirements (e.g. isolate for 14 days if required); your isolation period in PEI must be at least 8 days, regardless of how many days you spent in isolation in another province or territory following international travel (e.g., if you arrived in Toronto and isolated for 10 days in Toronto prior to coming to PEI, you must still isolate for 8 days in PEI)
    • PEI testing requirements must be completed at PEI testing sites; federal border testing and federal testing kits are not considered part of the provincial testing regime.

If fully vaccinated: You must self-isolate until a negative test result on day 4, or for the duration of your stay (if shorter than 4 days). See more at Temporary COVID-19 measures.

  • This also applies to individuals younger than 12 years old and travelling with at minimum one fully vaccinated adult who is exempt from isolation with a PEI Pass
  • For children turning 12 years old, there is a three-month grace period from their birthday before the requirement to be fully vaccinated comes into effect. For example, if a child turns 12 on September 1, they have until December 1 to be fully vaccinated.
  • Find out more information on the temporary isolation measures for fully vaccinated travelers, including testing, here

Following international travel, you must be exempt from self-isolation at the federal border to be eligible for an isolation time shorter than 14 days in PEI within your first 14 days in the country.

PEI residents travelling within Atlantic Canada for some types of same-day travel are not required to self-isolate, subject to some conditions.

What does it mean to self-isolate?

Self-isolation means:

  • Do not have contact with others (in-person) – see below for exceptions for isolation related to travel within the Atlantic provinces/Magdalen Islands on travel parties with vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals;
  • 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 do not have another option, the other members of your household must self-isolate unless the following conditions are met:
    • You can remain isolated from the other members of your household in a separate room, and ideally with a separate bathroom,
    • If there is a shared bathroom it must be used at separate times and there must be enhanced cleaning of all shared surfaces after use.
    • Kitchens and other spaces in the home cannot be shared; have food and beverages prepared by others and delivered in a non-contact manner
    • If all members of your household cannot ensure that the above requirements can be met, then everyone in the household must self-isolate for ther required time.
    • If you need assistance in developing an appropriate COVID-19 self-isolation plan, please contact DeptHW@gov.pe.ca
  • If someone who is self-isolating comes into contact with others during the self-isolation period; the others must self-isolate for  a minimum of 8 days if unvaccinated/partially vaccinated or 4 days if fully vaccinated following the last point of contact with the person in self isolation
  • Avoid contact with pets if you live with other people not in isolation who may also be touching the pet
  • 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 are the testing requirements for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people in isolation following travel outside of PEI?

Everyone arriving in PEI who is in isolation and is not already being tested by the province of PEI, is required to be tested on entry as directed by public health officials. Further testing during isolation depends on whether the travel was from within Canada or international:

For travel within Canada:

  • You are required to be tested as directed at the point of entry and;
  • To be eligible for the shortened self-isolation of 8 days, you must have a negative COVID-19 test on day 8.
  • Students entering PEI from domestic travel are required to be tested as directed at the point of entry, and on days 4 and 8 in PEI.

For international travel:

  • You are required to be tested as directed at the point of entry and;
  • You are required to test at day 8 in PEI.
  • Students entering PEI from international travel are required to be tested as directed at the point of entry, and on days 4 and 8 in PEI.
  • PEI testing requirements must be completed at PEI testing sites; federal border testing and federal testing kits are not considered part of the provincial testing regime.

For a family arriving and isolating together, two people per family are required to be tested. All other self-isolation requirements remain in place. Information on how to get a COVID-19 test is available online.

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. You must list this person(s) and their contact information in PEI on your PEI self-isolation declaration form; and
  • if travelling into the province, what is your transportation to your self-isolation location (e.g. is someone picking you up 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. 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, follow general Public Health Measures 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.

Do I have to self-isolate if I am coming to PEI to visit someone in palliative care?

See here for more information.

Do I have to self-isolate if I am coming to PEI to attend a visitation, funeral, and/or burial service?

See here for more information.

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).

Published date: 
January 7, 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