Isolation and contact tracing

Isolation is about protecting others and slowing down the spread of COVID-19.

Contact tracing is an important public health tool to stop viruses like COVID-19 from spreading rapidly in communities.


Isolation

Starting Friday, November 19 at 6 p.m.

Everyone in a household anywhere in New Brunswick with a positive case of COVID-19, regardless of their vaccination status, must isolate for 14 days.

Household members who are fully vaccinated will be able to leave isolation with a day five negative PCR test. A day 10 PCR test must still be taken to confirm the negative result.


Isolation

Why isolation is important?

It only takes one person to infect many.

Isolation is about protecting others and slowing down the spread of COVID-19.

COVID-19 and the variants spread easily if given the chance. If you have been directed to isolate, it is extremely important to follow all public health guidelines and measures, including isolation. This is the most effective way of preventing the virus from spreading. 

No matter the type of isolation you are in, you should:

  • Monitor yourself for symptoms. Avoid using fever-reducing medications (e.g. acetaminophen, ibuprofen) as much as possible. These medications could mask an early symptom of COVID-19.
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Limit your contact with others
  • Avoid contact with people who are at risk of more severe disease or outcomes, including:
    • older adults
    • people of any age with chronic medical conditions
    • people of any age who are immunocompromised

In all situations, you can leave your home or isolation location to get a COVID-19 test.


When and how to isolate

Who:

  • Individuals advised by Public Health or a physician, including confirmed cases of COVID-19, MUST isolate
  • Household members of positive COVID-19 cases MUST isolate, regardless of their vaccination status.
  • Household members who are fully vaccinated will be able to leave isolation with a day five negative PCR test. A day 10 PCR test must still be taken to confirm the negative result.

How long:

  • as directed by Public Health

What to do:

  • Stay at home and monitor yourself for symptoms, even just one mild symptom.
  • Do not go to school, work, other public areas or use public transportation (e.g., buses, taxis).
  • Avoid contact with other people to help prevent transmission of the virus prior to developing symptoms or at the earliest stage of illness
  • Do not have any guests, even if you are outdoors.
  • If you are isolating in a housing unit with others, all those living with you may need to isolate, if directed to by Public Health.

While in isolation

If you start to develop symptoms while isolating, you must:

  • remain isolated from others as soon as you notice your first symptom
  • immediately call Tele-Care 8-1-1 OR complete the online self-assessment form to discuss your symptoms and travel history, and follow their instructions carefully
  • if you develop urgent symptoms (i.e. difficulty breathing), call 911 or your local emergency help line and inform them that:
    • you may have COVID-19
    • are at high risk for complications

People with COVID-19 do not always recognize their early symptoms. Even if you do not have symptoms now, it is possible to transmit COVID-19 before you start showing symptoms or without ever developing symptoms.


Isolating due to international travel

Anyone travelling from an international destination who is required to isolate because of federal quarantine and vaccination requirements. For more information, visit the Federal travel website: COVID-19: Travel, testing, quarantine and borders - Travel.gc.ca

Quarantine requirements for children under 12 years of age arriving from international destination can be found here.

While individuals may have exemptions from isolation for travel, they may be directed to isolate for other reasons.

You will be directed by public health or border officials on the type of isolation required.


Coping with isolation

Isolation can at times be needed to prevent the spread of a virus in a community.  Unfortunately, this can worsen feelings of loneliness or abandonment.  People placed in isolation may experience a wide range of feelings, including relief, fear, anger, sadness, irritability, guilt or confusion.  Humans are social creatures and need connection to others to thrive, which can make isolation challenging.

For suggestions that may help you through this challenging time, click here.  


Contact tracing

Contact tracing is an important public health tool to stop viruses like COVID-19 from spreading rapidly in communities. It helps people get diagnosed earlier and reduces the chance of spreading the virus.

If you get sick, tell Public Health about the people you've spent time with. It's crucial to slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our province.

Any information you share with Public Health staff is CONFIDENTIAL. This means that your name and personal and medical information will be kept private.


How contact tracing works

  • A person has COVID-19 symptoms, takes the online self-assessment to book a test and then tests positive.
  • Public Health staff interview the positive person to identify public areas they have visited and people they’ve spent time with. These people are contacts. Public Health maintains the privacy of the positive person. Anyone who tests positive can choose to tell others about their diagnosis, but Public Health will not.  
  • Public Health gets in touch with the close contacts and asks them about symptoms of COVID-19. Close contacts with no symptoms are asked to isolate and monitor for symptoms for 14 days after their last contact with the case. Contacts with symptoms are sent for testing. Non-close contacts will be asked to self-monitor.
  • If a contact tests positive, Public Health will reach out to all their close contacts and restart the process.

How you can help

  • Download the COVID Alert app.
  • Keep a list of who you’ve met with and where you have been.  This can be done on your phone, in a notebook or in a calendar.
  • If you test positive, be open and honest about the people you’ve spent time with.