COVID-19: What to do if Symptomatic, Positive or Exposed



Last updated: April 19, 2022

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Close Contacts and Household Members

  • If you’ve been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms, find out what to do next. 
  • You can also take this self-assessment.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms

Use of RATs for Individuals with COVID-19 Symptoms

Isolation after Testing Negative with an RAT

  • If you have COVID-19 symptoms, testing negative on one RAT test does not mean you don't have COVID-19.
  • However, if you have COVID-19 symptoms and get negative test results on two consecutive RATs, separated by 24-48 hours, it's less likely you have COVID-19. Self-isolate until you have no fever, and your symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if gastrointestinal symptoms). After the two negative RATs, your household members may also end their isolation, as long as they do not have symptoms. 

Isolation after Testing Positive with an RAT

  • If you test positive on a RAT, it's very likely that you have COVID-19. You and your household members are required to self-isolate, as per self-isolation directions for individuals with COVID-19 symptoms and their household members.
  • Positive RATs do NOT need to be confirmed by PCR/rapid molecular test and do not need to be reported to the Health Unit.

If you've tested positive for COVID-19

 You must isolate:

  • for at least five days if you are fully vaccinated or are under 12 years of age
  • for at least 10 days if you are over the age of 12 and not fully vaccinated, are immunocompromised, or live in a highest risk setting

If you test positive for COVID-19 and qualify for the five-day isolation period, follow these recommendations for five days after your isolation:

  • Wear a mask for five days after your isolation period, whenever you are around people you do not live with.
  • Do not visit people in high-risk facilities, such as long-term care facilities, nursing homes or hospitals.
  • Do not visit people with weakened immune systems or who are elderly.

If you reach the end of your isolation period and have a fever and/or other symptoms, you must continue to isolate until your symptoms have improved for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if the symptoms affect the digestive system) and you don't have a fever.

Symptoms include:

  • fever or chills
  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • decreased or loss of taste or smell
  • two or more of:
    • runny nose or nasal congestion
    • headache
    • extreme fatigue
    • sore throat
    • muscle aches or joint pain
    • gastrointestinal symptoms (such as vomiting or diarrhea)

If you feel sick but your symptoms are not in the list above, stay home until you feel better for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if the symptoms affect the digestive system).

If you develop severe symptoms requiring medical attention, like shortness of breath or chest pain, call 911 and tell them you may have COVID-19.

Notify your close contacts.

close contact is anyone you were less than two metres away from for at least 15 minutes, or multiple shorter lengths of time, without personal protective equipment in the 48 hours before your symptoms began or your positive test result, whichever came first. Close contacts in schools should follow the school-based guidance. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive on a COVID-19 test, tell your close contacts they have been exposed.

How to Self-Isolate

 Learn how to self-isolate.

Guide for Highest Risk Settings 


Highest risk settings include: 

  • hospitals and health care settings, including complex continuing care facilities and acute care facilities
  • congregate living settings, such as long-term care and retirement homes, First Nation elder care lodges, group homes, shelters, hospices, temporary foreign worker settings, correctional institutions and Provincial Demonstration Schools and hospital schools
  • home and community care settings

Whether you have symptoms, were exposed or tested positive, notify your employer/home or care provider and isolate for 10 days from your symptom onset/exposure/date of diagnosis. To help ensure sufficient staffing levels, workers in these settings may be asked to return to work earlier than 10 days, with additional precautions such as testing. Speak with your employer for more information.

Photo Gallery: COVID-19 Isolation Guide will appear here on the public site.

More Information

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Parry Sound

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Burk's Falls

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