Information for Close Contacts of a COVID-19 Case

COVID-19

Last Updated: June 30, 2022

Who Is a Close Contact| What to Do if You’re a Close Contact| Additional Resources

Who Is a Close Contact

Who Is a Close Contact of a COVID-19 Case?

A close contact is anyone who, during the infectious period of the case:

  • lived with or was within two metres of a person who has COVID-19 for 10 minutes or more of cumulative contact over a 24 hour period, (multiple interactions for a total of 10 minutes or more), even if a mask was worn during that contact, or
  • had direct contact with infectious bodily fluids of a person who has COVID-19 – for example shared items such as drinks, personal hygiene items, cigarettes, vapes, lipstick, eating utensils, or was coughed or sneezed on, or
  • provided direct care for a person who has COVID-19, or
  • had physical contact with a person who has COVID-19, such as handshake, hugging, kissing, or sexual activity, or
  • had contact with a person who has COVID-19 within two meters for one minute or longer during activities that involve speaking, singing, shouting or breathing heavily (e.g., exercise).

Consistent and appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) by regulated health care professionals must be assessed to determine if that person had enough protection from a potential COVID-19 exposure. This is determined by a professional who specializes in infection prevention and control.

Who Is a Household Contact of a COVID-19 Case?

People are household contacts with the person who tested positive if they:

  • live together
  • are sexual partners
  • received or provided care
  • are physically close together, often and for a long time

Household contacts are at higher risk of getting sick with COVID-19 because of how much and what kind of contact they have with the person who has COVID-19. Their recommendations for household contacts are different than other close contacts. See What do I do if I'm a household contact?

What to Do if You’re a Close Contact

What if I’m a Close Contact?

For 7 days following your last close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case:

  • Watch for symptoms. If you develop symptoms, you should stay home and away from others. Get tested using an at-home rapid test if you have access to one. For advice on whether you need be tested through AHS, use the COVID-19 Assessment & Testing Tool.
  • Avoid high-risk locations such as continuing care facilities and non-essential hospital visits.
  • Take precautions such as physical distancing, wearing a mask and washing or sanitizing your hands often.
  • For 7 days you are also recommended to:
    • avoid contact with vulnerable people such as seniors, people with weak immune systems and those with chronic health conditions. If contact cannot be avoided, wear a mask.
    • check with your employer about any work restrictions.

If you’re a close contact you won’t be able to enter any AHS or partner facility as a designated support person or a visitor even if you're fully immunized. You’ll only be able to enter if you need healthcare services. See ahs.ca/visitation for more information.

When Can a Person With COVID-19 Spread the Disease to Others?

The time that a person can spread COVID-19 to others is called the infectious period.

For a person with COVID-19 who has symptoms, the infectious period is 48 hours before the symptoms started and for the entire duration of their recommended isolation.

I Attended an Event (Such as a Dinner Party, Yoga Class, Wedding) While I Was Infectious. What Should I Do?

We recommend you notify your close contacts so others who are sick or at risk of getting sick are aware, and can follow recommendations for close contacts. There is no legal obligation for you to share this information.

I Went to Work While I Was Infectious. What Should I Do?

You should follow all applicable workplace requirements. We recommend you notify your employer so others who are sick or at risk of getting sick are aware, and can follow recommendations for close contacts. There is no legal obligation for you to share this information.

My Child Was at School, Daycare, or Camp While Infectious. What Should I Do?

We recommend you notify the school, daycare, or camp administrator so others who are sick or at risk of getting sick are aware. There is no legal obligation for you to share this information.