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How to self-isolate amid the coronavirus outbreak

Last Updated Mar 17, 2020 at 12:29 pm EDT

In this March 11, 2020, photo, Lindsay Garfield, Finance Director at SquareFoot, which helps companies find office space, is reflected in a mirror while working from home in New York. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Bebeto Matthews

More and more people are being told to self-isolate after returning from trips outside of Canada or coming into contact with someone who may have been exposed to COVID-19.

While it may be scary for some to think about isolating themselves from family and friends, public health experts say it will be key in halting the spread of the coronavirus.

Here are some tips from Ontario Public Health on how to properly self-isolate:

1. Stay home

  • As expected, the most important part of self-isolation is just staying home;
  • Do not use public transportation, cabs or taxi;
  • Do not go to work, school or any populated places.

 

2. Limit who is visiting you while in self-isolation

  • Limit any visits to people you must see and keep them short;
  • Stay away from elderly people or those with chronic medical deficiencies.

 

3. Avoid contact with others

  • If there are others in your home, steer clear of them as much as possible, including using your own bathroom if possible;
  • If you are in the same room as someone, keep a distance of at least two metres;
  • Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth. If you can’t, have those around you wear a mask.

 

4. Cover your coughs and sneezes

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze;
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow;
  • Used tissues should be thrown into a lined waste basket for easy removal.

 

5. Wash your hands

  • We know you hear this 10 times a day, but washing your hands is one of the most important ways to protect yourself;
  • Wash your hands with soap and water;
  • Dry your hands with a paper towel or a cloth towel only you use;
  • If soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

 

CLARIFICATION: Wearing of masks is not part of official coronavirus recommendations, says Ontario’s top doctor.

If you do experience symptoms, you should contact your health care provider, local public health unit or call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 for further instructions.