Exposed To COVID-19? Here's What You Should Do Next

A "high-risk" contact means you need to self-isolate — even if you test negative.

Associate Editor
Exposed To COVID-19? Here's What You Should Do Next

As COVID-19 cases continue to skyrocket in Quebec, it's not impossible that you came into contact with an infected person over the holidays. If you find out you've been exposed to COVID-19, your first thought might be "Now what do I do?" (well, your first thought after "S**t!!!!").

The government of Quebec has outlined the exact next steps you should take on its "Instructions for people who have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19" webpage.

It divides "types of contact" into three groups: high-risk contacts, moderate-risk contacts and low-risk contacts.

High-risk contacts of a confirmed case include people they live with, sexual partners (even if they don't live together), people they were with in a confined indoor space — such as a car — without wearing masks, and people they were with at a "festive gathering."

If you are a high-risk contact, you need to self-isolate at home and monitor your symptoms for 10 days from the last time you were exposed — even if have no symptoms and even if you get a negative test result.

Ten days is extended to 14 days if you can't isolate yourself from the person who tested positive — for example, if it's someone in your household. But instead of using the last time you were exposed as a timestamp, use the date symptoms appeared or the date of the positive test result.

Moderate-risk contacts of a confirmed case consist of people they were less than 2 metres away from for at least 15 minutes when only one of them wasn't wearing a mask, while low-risk contacts come from a similar scenario but with both people wearing masks.

For the 10 days following exposure, Quebecers who are considered moderate-risk contacts have to monitor their symptoms, avoid social contact — especially with vulnerable people — and wear a mask during all social interactions.

Those who are considered low-risk contacts just need to monitor their symptoms for 10 days.

It's important to remember that symptoms develop, on average, five to seven days after infection, but this period can also range from two to 12 days, according to the Quebec government.

If you develop symptoms, self-isolate until you can get tested or for 10 days.

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