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Physical Distancing & Self-Isolation

 What is Physical Distancing?

Physical distancing is being recommended to decrease transmission of COVID-19. This involves taking steps to limit the number of people you come into close contact with.

Physical distancing includes, but is not limited to:

  • talking to your supervisor, manager, or employer about the possibility of working from home where possible
  • avoiding visits to long-term care homes, retirement homes, supportive housing, hospices and other congregate care settings unless the visit is absolutely essential
  • avoiding non-essential trips in the community
  • limiting or cancelling group gatherings
  • holding virtual meetings
  • spending time outside and in settings where people can maintain a 2-metre (6 feet) distance from each other

Please note: that these guidelines are not meant to say “you must stay in your home!”

You can still go outside to take a walk, go to the park, or walk your dog. If you need groceries, go to the store. We simply recommend that while outside you make sure to avoid crowds and maintain a distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from those around you. 

What is Self-Isolation?

Self-isolation is when you have been instructed to separate yourself from others, with the purpose of preventing the spread of the virus, including those within your home. If you are ill, you should be separated from others in your household to the greatest extent possible. This also means that you should only leave your home or see other people for essential reasons (e.g. health care). Where possible, you should seek services over the phone or internet or ask for help from friends, family, or neighbours with essential errands (e.g. groceries, pick-up medication).

Follow the advice that you have received from your health care provider.

You need to self-isolate, even if you have no symptoms if in the last 14 days, you:

  • travelled outside of Canada (including the United States)
  • had close contact with someone who has or is suspected to have COVID-19


  • Self isolate until cleared by the Porcupine Health Unit or your health care provider. 
  • Stay home:
    • Do not use public transportation or taxis.
    • Do not go to work, stores or other public places.
  • Do not have any visitors if possible. Otherwise, limit the number of visitors in your home:
    • Only have visitors who you must see and keep visits short.
    • Keep away from seniors and people with chronic medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, lung problems, weakened immune system)
  • Avoid contact with others:
    • Stay in a separate room away from other people in your home as much as possible and use a separate bathroom if you have one.
    • Make sure that any shared rooms have good airflow (e.g., open windows).
  • Keep distance:
    • If you are in a room with other people, keep a distance of at least two metres from others and wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth.
    • If you cannot wear a mask, people should wear a mask when they are in the same room as you.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes:
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
    • Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hand.
    • Throw used tissues in a lined wastebasket and wash your hands. Lining the wastebasket with a plastic bag makes waste disposal easier and safer.
    • Wash your hands after emptying the wastebasket.
  • Wash your hands:
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
    • Dry your hands with a paper towel, or with your own cloth towel that no one else shares.
    • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth:
    • Wear a mask if you must leave your house to see a health care provider.
    • Wear a mask when you are within two metres of other people.

Household cleaning and disinfection

  • Clean all “high-touch” areas such as counters, toilets, sink tap handles, tabletops, doorknobs, TV remotes, phones, and bedside tables daily using regular household cleaners.
  • Clean more often if surfaces become visibly soiled.
  • Clean any surfaces than may have blood, body fluids and/or secretions on them.
  • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning surfaces.
  • Use a diluted bleach solution (2 teaspoons of bleach to 4 cups of water) or household disinfectant.
  • Dishes and eating utensils should be cleaned with dish soap and hot water after each use.
  • Use of a dishwasher with a drying cycle also provides a sufficient level of cleaning.


  • Clothing and bedclothes can be cleaned using regular laundry soap and water and do not require separation from other household laundry.
  • If clothing or bedding have blood, body fluids and/or secretions, wear disposable gloves while handling soiled items, remove gloves and wash hands immediately afterwards.

Waste management

  • All waste generated can be bagged in a regular plastic bag and disposed of in regular household waste.

If you are caring for or living with someone who has the virus, you are considered a ‘close contact’. See the Self-Isolation Guide for Close Contacts for more information.